Jan 8, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets small forward Carlos Delfino (10) attempts to score a basket during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets might just be the hottest team in the NBA right now. Starting with their 123-104 win over the Atlanta Hawks on December 31st, the Rockets have won 5 straight games, and are looking to make it 6 straight tonight at New Orleans. Houston is averaging 115.8 points a game during this stretch, and currently is averaging a league best 106.2 points per game. They have also shot a remarkable 39.3 percent from the 3-point line during this current streak.
The Rockets defeated the New Orleans Hornets one week ago at Toyota Center, 104-92, but they will be playing a different team tonight, as guard Eric Gordon has returned from injury for New Orleans. The Hornets are 3-1 this season with Gordon, who has averaged 18.3 points since returning.
Houston again will look for James Harden to continue his stellar play. After last night’s 31 point performance in a 125-112 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden has scored at least 25 points in 13 straight games, which ties the franchise record set by Moses Malone in the 1981-1982 season. Harden was also named the Western Conference Player of the Week last week, becoming the first Rocket since Tracy McGrady in 2007 to win multiple Western Conference Player of the Week honors.
While Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, and Omir Asik, have continued to be consistent with their play, the Rockets have been getting major contributions off the bench from Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, and Patrick Patterson. Douglas has scored in double digits 5 out of the last 7 games, while Delfino has scored at least 19 points in three out of the last five games. During this stretch, Delfino has also shot an unbelievable 61.3 percent from beyond the arc. Patterson has been averaging 14.3 points and 6 rebounds in the last four games, and looks better since returning from injury than he did earlier in the season as a starter.
New Orleans has also been enjoying a recent hot stretch, winning four out of their last seven games. The Rockets have also dropped four out of their last five games in New Orleans.