What a difference two weeks makes - on January 9th, the Rockets came into New Orleans riding high, winners of their last five straight and holding an impressive 21-14 record. The Rockets led by ten going into the fourth quarter, and then something happened. Roger Mason started lighting it up from three, the Hornets defense held the rockets to 6 points of scoring in the first 11 minutes of the fourth quarter, and New Orleans ran away with the contest.
That loss sparked a monumental skid for the Rockets, who are now losers of 8 of their last 9 games, their only win coming against the woeful Bobcats. They now stand at .500, tied with the TrailBlazers for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.
The matchup I'll be looking at is the defensive matchup against newly minted All-Star James Harden. In the previous two matchups against the Rockets this month, Gordon didn't look quite fit enough to handle defending Harden. We'll see how Gordon fares now that he has seven more games under his belt. In addition, the Hornets have used Austin Rivers to defend Harden in the middle of the first and second halves in both of the last two games, a strategy that didn't produce favorable results. It will be interesting to see if Monty keeps putting Rivers on Harden or if he tries another strategy.