Up until the fourth quarter, the Houston Rockets were rolling right along against the New Orleans Hornets. Then, the wheels completely fell off the bus.
Houston scored just 10 points in the fourth quarter, and fell 88-79 to New Orleans in an odd game for a team still in the playoff mix in the Western Conference.
No one scored more than 17 points for the Hornets, who managed to overcome a big fat zero from star reserve Ryan Anderson while holding Houston, one of the league's best offensive teams, under 80 points.
James Harden had it going for the Rockets, but no one else made more than four field goals en route to a rough outing all the way around. Harden finished with 25 points, but no other Rocket scored in double figures by the time the final buzzer sounded.
Houston finished with 22 turnovers, and New Orleans took advantage for 23 points off those giveaways. No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis didn't even see the court in the fourth quarter, as Jason Smith and Anderson helped Roger Mason get free for 15 fourth quarter points and a stunning victory in the Bayou.
Greivis Vasquez continues to fill the stat sheet, tallying 17 points, 11 assists and four rebounds in a winning effort. Houston drops to 21-15 on the season, while New Orleans now has double-digit wins with a 10-25 record.
Player of the Game: G Roger Mason, Jr., New Orleans
Mason was one of the three scoring leaders for the Hornets, but that's not why he takes home tonight's player of the game award.
He had 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a perfect 3-for-3 mark from the three-point line and a couple of free throws. Mason turned it on when his team needed it the most, and even with young studs like Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers in town, he's proving he can play a little bit in his old age.
Up Next for the Rockets
Houston will travel to TD Garden on Friday night, where the Boston Celtics await. It will be yet another challenge for the Rockets following a tough loss, but they've performed quite well against the Eastern Conference this season.
Look for James Harden to get the full wrath of the Boston defense—Doc Rivers will make other players beat his team.
Up Next for the Hornets
New Orleans will have another home game on Friday night, against the beat-up Minnesota Timberwolves. The Hornets need to continue to work Gordon back into a starring role, as his presence completely changes the fortune of this team. Look for the matchup of Vasquez and Ricky Rubio to be one that gets people talking.