“Houston led by 18 after a 3-pointer by Corey Brewer with about eight minutes remaining. A 21-2 run by the Hornets followed and put them ahead 111-110 with about 2½ minutes left.”
That’s basically the epitome of the Houston Rockets, but it’s important to see that the inability to conserve a lead has plagued Houston since at least early January when these teams met. Yes, the Rockets finished the game on an 11-3 run to win 121-114. But this was one of the first glimpses we had (along with every OKC game) that Houston has trouble maintaining big leads.
It’s definitely a product of the offense. And it’s certainly a product of depending so much on James Harden. However, that night the Rockets gave up 58(!) points to the Hornets bench. And Nicolas Batum didn’t play.
Tonight, the Rockets have to go to Charlotte and try to extend their 2-game winning streak. Until two nights ago, the Rockets hadn’t put together back-to-back wins since their 9-game winning streak. Now they’re newfound commitment to defense will be tested by a Hornets squad that finally ended a 7-game losing streak by defeating the Nets on Tuesday. The Hornets currently sit in ninth place in the East and are certainly in contention for the seventh seed.
It’s important to mention that Charlotte’s losing streak included games against the Warriors twice, the Jazz, and the red-hot Wizards.
Kemba Walker is a totally deserving All-Star this season, averaging 23 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. His shooting percentages are both career highs (45% overall and 40% from deep) while also having the highest usage rate in his career. That’s an incredible feat.
For the Hornets, Ramon Sessions is out with a torn meniscus. Cody Zeller has missed the Hornets’ last eight games, but could return tonight.
Tip-off is at 6pm CT.