New Orleans (5-3) at Houston (5-4)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Sat Nov 15, 2008
  • TV: KTXH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New Orleans Hornets were thrilled to close out their three-game homestand with a win.

The Houston Rockets are just happy to come home.

Houston returns to the Toyota Center for the first time in 11 days on Saturday night when it hosts Southwest Division rival New Orleans.

The Hornets (5-3) enter following Friday night’s 87-82 win over Portland. James Posey hit 4-of-8 from 3-point range, including two from beyond the arc in the fourth—New Orleans’ only baskets in the final 8:30.

“It just came in the flow of the game,” Posey said following his 14-point outing. “The guys on this team trust each other to do what we do best. I got open, and they were able to find me.”

Posey, signed from the NBA champion Boston Celtics in the offseason for his defense and 3-point shooting, did not have a championship shooting effort in two games against Houston last season, missing all six attempts from long range and scoring one point in two Celtics victories.

Chris Paul had 17 points, nine assists and four steals against the Trail Blazers, but made 4-of-12 from the field—his worst shooting effort of the season.

His NBA-record string of 20-point, 11-assist games to open a season was snapped, but he could likely start another streak as he faces a Houston team that he’s posted five straight double-doubles against, averaging 22.2 points and 11.6 assists.

David West also has three consecutive double-doubles against the Rockets, scoring 23.0 points per game and averaging 11.0 boards.

Houston (5-4) finished its five-game western swing on Friday with a 77-75 loss to San Antonio. The Rockets went scoreless the final 4:44 and allowed the Spurs to score the game’s last 12 points.

Aaron Brooks had a layup blocked by Tim Duncan in the final second as Houston finished its trip 2-3.

“This was a game we should have won,” said Tracy McGrady. “We had it in our pocket. We didn’t play any defense.”

McGrady and the Rockets didn’t shoot well, either. Houston made just 40 percent from the field, dropping its season average to 41.6 percent—28th in the NBA.

After hitting 11-of-18 and scoring 27 in a 94-82 win on Wednesday against Phoenix, McGrady went 2-for-12 and was held to seven points.

Although he’ll be facing a New Orleans team that allows just 91.6 points per game, McGrady averaged 30.0 points and 6.0 assists and shot 50 percent in three games against the Hornets in 2007-08.

Yao Ming missed the final two meetings with the Hornets last season with a stress fracture in his left foot, but averaged 29.0 points and 15.0 rebounds in the first two matchups. Yao has failed to reach 20 points in his last seven games, his longest such streak since the first seven games of the 2003-04 season.

While playing with Sacramento, Ron Artest averaged 23.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in two wins versus New Orleans last season.

Rafer Alston will finish his two-game suspension on Saturday after Wednesday’s pushing incident with Phoenix’s Matt Barnes.

The teams split two meetings in Houston last season.

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Saturday, Nov 15