A Rockets win would push the 7-7 team above .500 for the first time this season.
The Hornets, meanwhile, have struggled mightily after the departure of Chris Paul, especially because the main piece they got back -- Eric Gordon -- has missed most of the season with a knee injury.
New Orleans, at 3-11 with a -5.1 point differential, has the worst offense in the NBA, averaging only 86.7 points a game. Without Gordon or Paul, none of the other Hornets can consistently create their own shot.
They still have some strong defensive players through, with Jarrett Jack, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor all capable of playing outstanding individual defense. However, defense requires a considerable amount of effort, and it's an open question how long the long-time NBA veterans will continue to give maximum effort for a Hornets team going nowhere fast.
Houston cannot afford to over look New Orleans, but these are the type of home games they have to win if they're going to sneak into the top 8 out West.