Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/7

Game 1: Tuesday, December 7th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 26th
Game 3: Friday, March 25th
Game 4: Friday, April 1st

Hornets 81

(1-15, 1-7 away)

Rockets 89

(8-11, 4-5 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, December 7, 2004

    Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 16 14 23 2881
    HOU 22 21 16 3089

    Top Performers

    NO: P. Brown 14 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Hou: Y. Ming 21 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

    New Orleans loses seventh straight

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Credit for the Houston Rockets' latest victory goes to none other than Andre Barrett, a little-known point guard signed to fill in for the injured Charlie Ward and Tyronn Lue.

    Barrett scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, and Yao Ming had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the Rockets to an 89-81 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night.

    New Orleans got within one point, 54-53 late in the third quarter, before Barrett steadied the Rockets down the stretch. The undrafted rookie who spent training camp with the New York Knicks played a season-high 28 minutes.

    "They were doubling Yao and Tracy (McGrady) and we are struggling to shoot well right now," coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Barrett stepped up and made some big shots. If you play on a team with those guys, you're going to have some shots and the ones he made tonight were huge.

    "We were stuck in the mud. We had a problem down the stretch."

    His teammates were impressed with Barrett's 5-of-7 shooting.

    "To have confidence the way he has to take shots and knock them down is great," McGrady said. "A lot of guys just coming into the league shy away from those kind of shots at the end of the game. But he didn't and he was knocking them down."

    It was no big deal to Barrett.

    "We have to be confident we're going to make those shots," he said. "This is a crazy game. When I started out, I was on the injured reserve list and I'm pretty sure nobody knew anything about me.

    "I went to Seton Hall and that was it. Nobody knew I was going to come out here confident."

    McGrady had his second straight poor shooting night, shooting just 7-of-19 -- including 1-of-8 from 3-point range -- to finish with 18 points. He shot just 7-of-23 Saturday against the 76ers but scored the winning basket with 25 seconds to play.

    The hapless Hornets, with only one victory this season, have lost seven straight. Their 16 first-quarter points were a season-low for a Rockets opponent, and their 30 first-half points tied an opponent's season low.

    Coach Byron Scott was unhappy with the first-half performance.

    "I was pretty visibly upset at halftime," Scott said. "I just didn't think we played hard the first half and I let them know it.

    "You saw the results. We probably played our best half in the second half. That's the way we have to play. We're undermanned and if you come out with 70 percent effort, you won't get much done."

    The losing is starting to affect the players.

    "I think some of us are pressing a little bit too hard," said David Wesley, who led the Hornets with 18 points. "It's all because we want to win. But sometimes it's better to relax and just let the offense work for you and you'll get good shots."

    Jim Jackson missed his second straight game, this time with back spasms, and Ryan Bowen again replaced him in the starting lineup. Jackson, who averages 13.9 points, missed Saturday's game against the 76ers with flu-like symptoms.

    The Rockets had a pair of eight-point runs in the first quarter to lead by as many as 11 points. They settled for a 22-16 lead after one as Juwan Howard had eight points.

    The Hornets fell behind by 11 again early in the second quarter before going on a 9-0 run to close to 31-29. Scott Padgett hit two 3s the final minute to cap a 12-0 run for a 43-30 lead at the half. Yao led with 10 points at the break.

    Lee Nailon's eight points in the third quarter helped New Orleans pull within one, 54-53 with 1:41 to play. McGrady's 3-pointer helped Houston lead 59-53 after three.

    The Hornets never got closer than five points in the fourth quarter.

    Game notes

    New Orleans is 1-7 on the road ... David West sat out the game with a sprained right knee suffered against Detroit on Saturday. He is day-to-day ... George Lynch went over the 5,000-point plateau for his career with two points. He now has 5,001 ... The Hornets wore their Mardi Gras gold uniforms for the fourth time this season. They are 0-4 in them ... Houston is 7-1 when it outrebounds opponents as it did Tuesday, 54-43.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 89
    FGM-FGA 28-72 (.389) 32-71 (.451)
    3PM-3PA 3-15 (.200) 4-18 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 22-28 (.786) 21-29 (.724)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-29 13-41
    Assists 18 24
    Turnovers 10 11
    Steals 5 5
    Blocks 2 7
    Fast Break Points 9 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 24 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 14

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    P.J. Brown Brown
    Points: 14
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Yao Ming Ming
    Points: 21
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 4