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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets on 3-game losing streak after 130-101 loss to Pelicans

POSTED: February 10, 2021 -- 8:43 a.m. CT

NEW ORLEANS, LA (Smoothie King Center) -- "Defense has been shitty the last two games." Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker said that Tuesday night after the Rockets lost 130-101 to the New Orleans Pelicans. The 29 point loss follows the 119-94 Monday night loss in Charlotte to the Hornets.

Rockets guard John Wall seconded Tucker's statement, "P.J.'s right: the defense has been shitty the last two games."

During the beginning of his postgame media session, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas was asked what he's taking from the last two games about his team's performances. "I choose to look at it a little differently. I did learn that if we're not going to comment with the correct defensive intensity that we're not going to win."

Despite shooting 52.6% (10 for 19) from the floor in the opening quarter, the Rockets trailed the Pelicans 30-25. Houston had 6 turnovers in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Pelicans shot 38.5% (10 for 26) but just turned over the ball 3 times.

The Pelicans' offense warmed up in the second quarter with 13 for 25 field goal shooting (52.0%). New Orleans outscored Houston 33-25 in the quarter and led by as much as 18 points in the period.

Pelicans' guard Josh Hart had 10 points and 7 rebounds in the quarter.

The Rockets trailed 63-50 at halftime.

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Houston trailed 82-62 with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter; but, John Wall and Sterling Brown helped the Rockets rally to win the quarter 31-29 to trail by only 11 (92-81) after 3 quarters. Wall and Brown each scored 9 points in the quarter.

Houston managed to get within 10 points twice in the 4th quarter. The Rockets trailed 104-94 with 7:11 remaining in the game. A layup by Pelicans' big man Willy Hernangomez started a 16-5 run by the Pelicans which put the Rockets away. The Pelicans finished the game with a 26-7 blitz to win by 29.

New Orleans outscored Houston 60-48 in the paint and 18-10 in 2nd chance points. Houston did outscore the Pelicans 18-11 in fast break points.

Brandon Ingram led 7 Pelicans' players in double-digit scoring with 22 points. Zion Williamson added 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assist. Josh Hart scored 20 points and had a career-high 17 rebounds.

"We got to be the aggressor," P.J. Tucker acknowledged. "Their guards offensive rebounded better than their bigs did; so, that had nothing to do with post ups and the bigs. Their guards were getting in there; so, that's on us as a whole team."

John Wall led the Rockets 25 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. Eric Gordon added 23 pts and 3 assists. Jae'Sean Tate scored 13 points and had 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Danuel House Jr produced 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals off the bench. Sterling Brown produced 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

After winning 6 straight games, Houston (11-13) has lost three in a row and four of 5.


The Rockets' next game is Thursday, February 11, at home, versus the Miami Heat. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Central Time.

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