Houston–The Hawks haven’t won at Houston since Feb. 25, 1999. That’s 10 straight losses. That’s pre-T-Mac and post-T-Mac. That’s with Lenny, Lon, Terry and Woody coaching the Hawks. And while this would seem to be the year for the Hawks to end the streak, with both T-Mac and Yao Ming sidelined and a considerable advantage in talent, remember the Hawks needed that Smoove tip dunk and Marvin’s 29 points to beat Houston at Philips back during their red-hot November.
The Rockets are a hard team to figure on paper. You look at their roster and there is nothing to excite you except Aaron Brooks and possibly super sixth man Carl Landry. You look deeper into the Rockets’ numbers and most are middle-of-the-pack–they share the ball fairly well and they are pretty good on the offensive boards but that’s about it. Yet they have managed to stay competitive by playing with effort and energy.
Except lately the Rockets haven’t always had good effort and energy (“This is the NBA, man”). Their six losses in 10 January games include a home defeat to the Bulls on Saturday, which came the night after they won at San Antonio. So you get a Houston Chronicle headline that reads “Rockets baffled by lack of intensity in loss to Bulls” and quotes like this one from Shane Battier:
“Our team has been very strange in respect to when you think you know, or when we have it all figured out, we lay a clunker down. And when you write us off, we come out with a great performance like (Friday) in San Antonio. I don’t have an explanation — it’s one of the most bizarre things I’ve witnessed in my nine-year career.”
So maybe the Hawks catch the Rockets on one of their weird nights. Perhaps the Hawks’ offense clicks like it did Friday vs. Charlotte, which takes the same hard-nosed approach as Houston but has better talent. And maybe, just maybe, the Hawks can finally win at Houston.
– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.