Kevin Martin’s arrival didn’t immediately help the struggling
Houston Rockets, who have fallen out of playoff position in the
They’ve also slipped behind the New Orleans Hornets, who hope to
close a four-game homestand with their first back-to-back wins in
nearly a month Sunday against the Rockets.
Houston (28-26) acquired Martin as part of a three-team trade
before Thursday’s deadline that featured the much-anticipated
departure of star Tracy McGrady, who hadn’t played since Dec.
Martin, who was averaging 19.8 points for Sacramento, figures to
help a Houston offense that has shot 42.9 percent from the field
during a 4-8 stretch. The veteran guard didn’t help much in his
Rockets debut, shooting 3 of 16 on Saturday night in a 125-115 home
loss to Indiana.
At the same time, McGrady was busy scoring 26 points in his
first game with the New York Knicks.
“The one good thing about that night is that it is over,” Martin
said. “It was fun to get back out on the court again with
everything that happened over the last couple of days but we didn’t
come out with a win so I’m kind of disappointed in that
While Martin’s dismal shooting didn’t help, defense was the
bigger issue for the Rockets, who allowed the Pacers to score 71
second-half points and erase an 11-point halftime deficit.
“It was just a poor defensive effort on our part,” Houston coach
Rick Adelman said. “It’s not about shots. I don’t care about that.
… We aren’t going to do anything if we don’t have more of a
defensive habit toward the defensive end of the floor.”
Houston has allowed opponents to shoot 48.2 percent while
dropping four of its last five, slumping to 10th in the Western
Conference – one-half game behind the Hornets.
New Orleans (29-26) beat Indiana 107-101 on Friday night thanks
in part to the first career triple-double from rookie point guard
Filling in for injured star Chris Paul, Collison had 18 points,
13 rebounds and 12 assists. He’s averaging 19.7 points and 9.8
assists in nine games since entering the starting lineup Jan.
“It means a lot,” Collison said of the triple-double. “I was
just going out there and playing and my teammates were just telling
me what I needed and being supportive. … I hope I have a lot more
in my career and I was fortunate to have one today. I was just
trying to help the team win.”
New Orleans also got a major boost from forward David West, who
scored 29 points in a bounce-back effort. West had a season-low
five points in a 98-90 home loss to Utah on Wednesday.
West said the Hornets – currently two games back of eighth-place
Portland – still feel like they can earn a third straight playoff
berth, even with Paul still on the mend following arthroscopic knee
“As long as guys continue to play with confidence, we’re going
to have a shot to win the games in terms of what we have on the
schedule,” West said.
First, the Hornets will try to win two in a row for the first
time since victories at Portland and Golden State on Jan. 25 and
27. They’ve already beaten the Rockets once at home, snapping a
three-game losing streak to Houston with a 99-95 win Jan. 2.