NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Houston Rockets made another
good-shooting team look bad.
Already leading the league in forcing missed shots, Houston held
New Orleans to a season-low 28 field goals Friday night and beat
the Hornets 83-74.
Maurice Taylor scored 17 points in a reserve role and Cuttino
Mobley added 16 with sharp 3-point shooting to give the Rockets the
offense they needed in a victory that seemed inevitable from early
in the fourth quarter.
With the towering Yao Ming and Kelvin Cato frustrating Hornets
shooters near the basket, New Orleans needed its strong outside
shooting. But Baron Davis shot 6-for-21 from the field, and David
Wesley, who had scored in double figures in every game this season,
missed his first five shots and didn't score until 1:28 remained in
the third quarter, finishing with nine points on three 3-pointers.
"Baron is going to get his points because he's a great point
guard. So we just did a good job contesting every shot he put up,"
The Rockets' opponents were shooting just 39 percent, and the
Hornets fared even worse -- 36 percent in tying their season low in
"We played good defense and they probably missed some shots
they would normally make," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
Yao and Cato dominated the inside. Yao had 15 points and 10
rebounds, and Cato added 10 rebounds, nine points and four blocked
shots. Houston finished with a 43-34 rebounding edge.
Houston also held the Hornets normally explosive running game to
two fast-break points.
"Houston has such an inside presence with Yao ... you have to
be more of a transition team, something we've done well the last
couple games but didn't do well tonight," Hornets forward P.J.
"They set the tempo. We tried to play half-court with them, but
Yao just makes it very tough inside ... you go to the rim and you
see nothing but red."
Darrell Armstrong led the Hornets with 17 points in a reserve
role. Jamaal Magloire started strong against Yao, hitting mid-range
jumpers and foul shots for 10 first-quarter points, but he scored
only four points the rest of the way.
Davis finished with 16 points and 11 assists for New Orleans.
The Rockets led 65-55 after the third quarter, thanks to their
rebounding and long-range shooting.
While the Hornets went 5-of-18 in the third, Houston started
hitting 3s. Mobley made two and Francis one, and Cato got free
inside for a pair of dunks -- one on an alley-oop pass from Francis.
Armstrong's 3-pointer cut the score to 65-60 early in the fourth
quarter, but Moochie Norris hit a 3-pointer and New Orleans
couldn't get closer than six the rest of the way.
"They do a terrific job getting back defensively. They took
away our transition game," Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. "We
relied on our perimeter game and didn't get much out of it."
Mobley finished 4-of-8 from 3-point range.
Taylor was 8-of-10 from the field, converting close and
mid-range jumpers. He also helped on defense, double-teaming Davis.
"He was really good tonight at both ends of the floor," Van
Gundy said. "You don't want to be known as an offensive player or
a defensive player. You want to be known as a player. We've spoken
The Hornets' best play occurred when Armstrong entered the game
in the second quarter and immediately hit a 3. Soon after, the
Hornets went on a 15-4 run to take a 38-32 lead.
Armstrong hit another 3 for eight points in the period, while
Davis scored 10, including a 3 and three free throws after being
fouled on a long jumper, and the Hornets led 43-39 at halftime.
The game marked the first time this season the Hornets blew
a halftime lead. New Orleans had been 9-0 when leading or tied at
the break. ... The Hornets, who will be in Houston's division after
realignment next season, dropped to 3-2 against Western Conference
teams. ... Yao has scored in double figures in every game this