Charlotte Hornets

Houston Rockets rain down near-record number of 3s on Charlotte Hornets to beat them

Charlotte Hornets' Dwight Howard reacts after a dunk against the Houston Rockets during the first half of Friday’s game at the Spectrum Center. The Hornets got another big game from center Howard, with 19 points and 16 rebounds, in a 109-93 loss.
Charlotte Hornets' Dwight Howard reacts after a dunk against the Houston Rockets during the first half of Friday’s game at the Spectrum Center. The Hornets got another big game from center Howard, with 19 points and 16 rebounds, in a 109-93 loss. AP

Defending the 3-pointer is not a new problem for the Charlotte Hornets, and the Houston Rockets are well-equipped to exploit that strategy.

The Rockets attempted 57 3s, most in a game ever by a Hornets opponent, in a 109-93 victory at Spectrum Center. The Hornets dropped to 2-3, while the Rockets improved to 5-1.

The Rockets hold the record for most 3s attempted in a game in NBA history, with 61. On Friday, Houston made 22, or 39 percent.

The Houston backcourt of Eric Gordon (26 points) and James Harden (27) were a handful to guard. Forward Ryan Anderson added 21.

The Hornets got another big game from center Dwight Howard, with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Point guard Kemba Walker finished with 26 points.

Three who mattered

Harden: He swished two 3-pointers in the first half over the best defense Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could have played.

Howard: He has totaled 15 or more rebounds in each of his first five games with the Hornets.

Walker: His third game of 20 or more points this season.

Observations

▪  Hornets small forward Treveon Graham (quad contusion) was active, but coach Steve Clifford said Graham would play only in an emergency, looking to avoid further injury.

▪  Kidd-Gilchrist, in his second game back from a bereavement absence, guarded Harden to start the game. Clifford said Kidd-Gilchrist would be limited to about 10 minutes per half, as he recovers game conditioning from the layoff.

▪  With Kidd-Gilchrist’s minutes limited, rookie Dwayne Bacon covered Harden, too: A rough assignment five games into an NBA career.

▪  Howard got off to quite a start, with eight points and six rebounds in the game’s first eight minutes. He also threw a bounce pass in transition to Jeremy Lamb, but Lamb missed a contested layup.

▪  Hornets reserve center Cody Zeller (knee bruise) didn’t play Friday, but he did fully participate in morning shootaround. So it’s possible he’ll be ready either Sunday versus the Orlando Magic or Monday against the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Worth mentioning

▪  Former Wake Forest star Chris Paul, who grew up near Winston-Salem, is in his first season with the Rockets. He missed the game with a knee injury.

▪  Howard’s 71 rebounds (over his first four games) were the most in the NBA this season entering Friday’s games.

▪  Thirty-two of the Rockets’ 46 first-half shots were from 3-point range.

Report card

C- OFFENSE: Lots of missed shots, particularly from rookies Dwayne Bacon and Malik Monk.

C DEFENSE: They forced 16 Houston turnovers and outrebounded the Rockets, but you can’t give up 39 percent from 3.

C COACHING: The Rockets are a Western Conference contender, but bench troubles from last season were back Friday.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

Rockets 109, Hornets 93

HOUSTON (109)—Mbah a Moute 5-8 0-0 12, Anderson 7-16 1-1 21, Capela 3-3 1-1 7, Harden 8-18 7-8 27, Gordon 9-22 2-3 26, Tucker 3-10 0-0 9, Black 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 3-8 0-0 7. Totals 38-85 11-13 109.

CHARLOTTE (93)—Kidd-Gilchrist 2-4 0-0 4, M.Williams 1-3 0-0 3, Howard 7-13 5-15 19, Walker 8-22 6-6 26, Lamb 8-16 1-2 20, O’Bryant III 1-4 0-0 2, Kaminsky 3-11 1-1 8, Monk 3-9 2-2 10, Bacon 0-6 1-2 1. Totals 33-88 16-28 93.

Houston

27

29

22

31

109

Charlotte

30

16

28

19

93

3-Point Goals—Houston 22-57 (Anderson 6-15, Gordon 6-16, Harden 4-10, Tucker 3-6, Mbah a Moute 2-4, Brown 1-6), Charlotte 11-29 (Walker 4-6, Lamb 3-6, Monk 2-7, M.Williams 1-1, Kaminsky 1-5, Bacon 0-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Houston 51 (Tucker 13), Charlotte 44 (Howard 16). Assists—Houston 21 (Harden 11), Charlotte 16 (Walker 5). Total Fouls—Houston 26, Charlotte 14. Technicals—Houston coach Rockets (Defensive three second). A—17,339 (19,077).

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