Atlanta Hawks: Rockets 109, Hawks 102 (updated)



Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

Welcome to the Hawks’ new style of basketball.

Oh yes, this is going to be interesting.

The Hawks couldn’t contain James Harden. They were killed on the boards. They trailed by as many as 16 points.

Yet, they barely lost.

Harden finished with a game-high 45 points, including seven straight when the Rockets erased a two-point Hawks’ fourth-quarter lead, en route to a 109-102 victory Friday night at Philips Arena. There is still much work to do for the Hawks and a revamped roster.

“We have some things that we really have to focus in and work on,” coach Larry Drew said. “There were area in this game where we weren’t very good, very polished, particularly on the boards. We didn’t do a good job on the boards.” And it wasn’t just our big guys. It was our perimeters not being in position to chase down long rebounds.”

After losing the late lead thanks to Harden, who finished with 18 fourth-quarter points, the Hawks had a chance to tie the game late. Trailing by three points, 97-94, DeShawn Stevenson and Jeff Teague passed on potential game-tying 3-pointers. Teague instead passed to Josh Smith, who missed from long range. Chandler Parsons hit a 3-pointer off the miss as the Rockets went up by six and sealed the win from the free-throw line.

“I saw Harden running at me and it was just a basketball play to make an extra pass,” Teague said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Josh. I see him work every day on shooting drills after practice. I’ve got all the faith in him. If I didn’t have faith in him, what kind of teammate would I be? I saw him wide open and thought he could knock it down. He happened to miss it but it’s part of the game.”

Since being acquired by the Rockets earlier this week, days ahead of their season opener, Harden’s has scored 82 points in two victories. Jeremy Lin added 21 points and Marcus Morris added 17 in the win Friday.

The Rockets (2-0) held a 58-36 rebounding advantage. They pulled down 23 offensive rebounds and many led to points in the paint. Center Omer Asik had 19, including seven in the first six minutes of the game.

“Giving up 17 offensive rebounds in the first half and 23 for the game, you are not going to give yourself a good chance to win. You have to be able to get in there and gang rebound. … We have to find a body, box them out and limit them to one opportunity.”

Lou Williams led the Hawks (0-1) with 22 points. Smith added 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Hawks also got double-digit scoring from Al Horford (14), Teague (14), Zaza Pachulia (13) and Stevenson (12).

The Hawks made their late run by going to a bigger lineup with Pachulia at center, Horford at power forward and Smith a small forward. Drew also elected to go with the hot hand as Williams played all of the fourth quarter when he had 13 points.

“We have to play how we played at the end of the third and into the fourth quarter,” Williams said. “We have to play like that for four quarters. We have to put four quarters of good basketball together in order for us to be successful.”

The Hawks had trouble with their offensive and defensive assignments. They often conferred with Drew during the course of the game to clear up where they were supposed to be on specific sets.

“It’s still a process,” Smith said. “We are still getting acclimated to the new guys coming in with our defensive principles and getting a feel for where they have to be. It’s still a work in progress.”

The Rockets led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, 68-52, but the Hawks worked to close the gap. They entered the final quarter trailing by seven points, 81-74. With 7:10 remaining the lead was gone. Smith converted in close for an 88-87 lead capping a 14-6 quarter-opening run. Williams and Smith each had six points in the stretch.

The Rockets took a 53-44 halftime lead. Their lead was 14 points, 49-35, with 1:50 remaining in the second quarter when Harden drained a 3-pointer and was fouled by Stevenson. The Hawks closed the gap to nine points by ending the half on a 9-4 run, punctuated by Stevenson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Rockets held a decisive rebounding advantage – 20-8 after the first quarter and 34-20 at the half.

“We made a run and they handled it,” Horford said. “They took it and got their composure back so you have to give them credit. I don’t think we played well enough to win the game tonight.”

The Hawks travel to Oklahoma City to take on the defending Western Conference champion Thunder Sunday.

310 comments Add your comment

paian

November 2nd, 2012
10:03 pm

ill help pack ld bags just for him to go

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:04 pm

Yea killed on the boards and in the paint!

Walt Frazier 2.0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FEAR THE BEARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cp

November 2nd, 2012
10:05 pm

Couldn’t rebound, couldn’t defend, terrible shot selection, terrible rotations. Yea this is going to be a long year. Good thing we got rid of our hustling, rebounding, defensive sf because its not like we could have used any of that rebounding or defense tonight. I see LD forgot that Devin and Ivan were on the bench too.

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:05 pm

Guess James Harden was not overrated by some? Hmmmmm

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:06 pm

Greyhound leaves on the hour LARRY DREW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ra'mon

November 2nd, 2012
10:06 pm

The quickest post game blog I’ve ever seen! Lol. Wow. Good job.

Astro Joe

November 2nd, 2012
10:07 pm

Again, what I find disconcerting about this one game sample is that the Rockets are also a team that is still learning how to play as a unit. This was NOT the Spurs or some other team that features a core that has been together for 3+ years. And EVERY team can reasonably expect to play better as the season moves forward… so if we’re starting off at a level where we lose the home opener to a Rockets team… well, again, disconcerting.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 2nd, 2012
10:08 pm

Perimeter D and LD’s substitution patterns are going to be problems all year (until Ferry mercifully cuts or trades Tolliver). Rebounding will improve, because Al won’t be this bad all year. The offense actually turned out fine, and will probably earn more FT attempts going forward (they were screwed out of a few calls in this game). Pretty much what most of us expected, I think.

Rob

November 2nd, 2012
10:08 pm

Tried to tell a couple of you clowns like Najeh Davenpoop. Harden is the truth and Westbrook is just a chucker. Great defense the other night vs Tony Parker, Russ! LMFAO

waltbellamy

November 2nd, 2012
10:08 pm

There were a couple of bright spots. Stevenson provided way more than I expected and Harris looked good in his cameo appearance. Zaza was scrappy as always. On the other hand rebounding and defense were atrocious. Very poor decision making by some folks who need to be the leaders of the team. That includes LD. Sunday is going to be ugly.

NIce work Chris. I have really enjoyed the blog this year.

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:09 pm

James cannot be guarded! WOW!!!

This dude could avg 30 plus a night with his skill set…So far his avg is 41! Day- yum!

kwooden1

November 2nd, 2012
10:12 pm

It was obvious to everyone that we would have problems on the boards and perimeter defensive. I’m very upset that LD and the rest of the staff can’t understand that you take a defensive lineup over and offensive lineup every time! I’m glad we came back in the game, but clearly Al is going to have to stop thinking and go after every missed shot. He didn’t come to play and we paid the price. It looks to me that we should start Lou, Jeff, Josh, Al and Zaza. That group will defend and rebound the best and then we can come with Stevenson and Harris off the bench. LD not bring in Ivan is just STUPID, I actually think it’s so bad he should fired!!

GO HAWKS!

Tremaine

November 2nd, 2012
10:13 pm

Put me on record, #2 is going to have a nice season for Utah.

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:14 pm

Meanwhile the #2 pick’s team[Utah] is fixing to go up 2-0…

cp

November 2nd, 2012
10:15 pm

Who do we play Sunday?

MattP

November 2nd, 2012
10:16 pm

Well look at the good thing, Boston, and Pacers lost. Miami looks like they are about to lose also.

One question I have is why did LD not play Ivan at all?

Najeh Davenpoop

November 2nd, 2012
10:18 pm

Unless this box score is wrong, Marvelous is 2/8 with 5 points and 3 boards tonight. Seems like typical Marvin to me. Y’all gotta be careful when you read those Jazz box scores, because they start two players named M. Williams.

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:18 pm

Woody is crushin Miami by 16 with under 5 mins left in the 4th..Melo with 28!

Astro Joe

November 2nd, 2012
10:18 pm

cp, a really poor home team… OKC Thunder.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 2nd, 2012
10:19 pm

Someone just asked LD about the 3 that Josh launched. LD pretty much said Josh is authorized to take that shot since the clock was running down.

phil

November 2nd, 2012
10:20 pm

Boooooooooooo!

Fire LD!!

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:21 pm

Hawks have 5 road games in the next 7!

This could get ugly very quickly! Hmmmmm

Melvin

November 2nd, 2012
10:21 pm

Boston and Lakers are 0-2. Bobcats beat the Pacers. The season has just started so there’s time to right the ship but the Hawks need to figure out how to be effective playing small ball. Starting Teague, Devin and Krover will not work. Tolliver adds no value to the team. James would have been a better fit b/c he could have defend the SF spot and help rebound. Hawks need a true SF on this roster. Devin, Krover, and Morrw for Rudy Gay.

Rob

November 2nd, 2012
10:22 pm

So y’all don’t wanna talk about those Harden/Westbrook debates from a while back? Can’t admit you were wrong? Looking stupid? Yup.

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:22 pm

Has anybody authorized that bus for LARRY DREW YET?

cp

November 2nd, 2012
10:22 pm

Preciate that Astro. Well that has the makings of a very ugly game Sunday. We really need a quality sf in here. If Korver and Tolliver arent hitting shots then they dont give you much else in the defensive and rebounding aspect. We need a sf

phil

November 2nd, 2012
10:22 pm

LD has the sense of a rotten fence post….

Astro Joe

November 2nd, 2012
10:22 pm

Slim, it won’t get ugly. They all hate to lose and they get along really well. They won’t want to be at the same club or movie being miserable together. So they will trun this around fairly quickly.

grimey

November 2nd, 2012
10:25 pm

Since when did the NBA give harden Kobe status. Hes overrated

Tremaine

November 2nd, 2012
10:25 pm

2-8 from 3pt line

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:26 pm

Knicks up 19!

Woody for Vice-President!!!

WOODY> LARRY all day…

LOL at AJ!

Najeh Davenpoop

November 2nd, 2012
10:26 pm

Nothing looks more stupid than forming conclusions after 2 games of an 82 game season. If you don’t think Westbrook could score tons of points and go 2-0 as the #1 option on his team against Detroit and Atlanta you are smoking some good stuff. Harden has looked phenomenal so far but I am looking forward to seeing what he does against teams that play perimeter defense.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

November 2nd, 2012
10:26 pm

Fearless Lou Williams ….. I’m lovin’ this guy …… Did y’all see him all up in Josh’s face. Entertaining game ….. Josh still doin’ some of that same ol’ stuff ….. frustrating …. But he played hard. WOW… no Ivan !!!!!!!!!

Rob

November 2nd, 2012
10:27 pm

“Since when did the NBA give harden Kobe status. Hes overrated”

LMAO…. Almost gave you FIDDY on Opening Night like it was nothing. Yeah, overrated. LOL

phil

November 2nd, 2012
10:27 pm

No, this won’t get turned around.

This bunch is putrid. I couldn’t believe how bad we looked.

Oh well….wait til next year!

Rod from College Park

November 2nd, 2012
10:28 pm

LD is just not a good coach. Devin Harris never gets back in the game? Kyle Korver starts? Al and Josh continue to be standing on the perimeter, and bringing the ball up the floor. No Ivan? It’s obvious Deshawn Stevenson should start. Never saw Morrow, but Korver gets major minutes, and did not score at all. Just makes no sense.

Tremaine

November 2nd, 2012
10:29 pm

lol, I still think Marvin is going to ball this year.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 2nd, 2012
10:30 pm

“2-8 from 3pt line”

That’s Mo, not Marvin.

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:30 pm

Well, theres always next year?

Larry is way over his head…

Tremaine

November 2nd, 2012
10:32 pm

I guess NO saw that he 21 the other night and decided to focus their defense on him tonight lol.

Rod from College Park

November 2nd, 2012
10:32 pm

“Someone just asked LD about the 3 that Josh launched. LD pretty much said Josh is authorized to take that shot since the clock was running down.”

He actually said other guys passed up the shot, so he was ok with Josh taking the shot because the clock was running down, and the ball moved from one side of the floor to the other.

TT

November 2nd, 2012
10:33 pm

The Hawks looked like a bunch of street ballers tonight….making plays off of hustle and sloppy play by Houston. No real discipline. Houston made so many uncontested layups it was a joke. Josh really needs to be somewhere else next year. Let’s use his contract to find a true Center for next year. We really should consider trading Horford as well. We were killed in the paint tonight. Lou Williams looks like a keeper. He and Josh were already at odds tonight during the last timeouts? Teague is improving and will be a force this year. Really, don’t expect much this year but if we can finally get a high draft pick next year and pick up a few big men, this team could be a force.

Rob

November 2nd, 2012
10:33 pm

“Nothing looks more stupid than forming conclusions after 2 games of an 82 game season. If you don’t think Westbrook could score tons of points and go 2-0 as the #1 option on his team against Detroit and Atlanta you are smoking some good stuff. Harden has looked phenomenal so far but I am looking forward to seeing what he does against teams that play perimeter defense.”

Harden cooked three West powerhouses with the pick and roll en route to the Finals, and you’re “still waiting”? LMFAO… Go off, clown.

Dale

November 2nd, 2012
10:34 pm

Al Holford is horrible, Josh is the same player as he was 8 years ago

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:34 pm

Asik destroyed Al on the boards. Who’s the darn ALLSTAR?

You get out rebounded by 20 plus rebounds a night you should lose over 83 percent of your games…

Rod from College Park

November 2nd, 2012
10:34 pm

“lol, I still think Marvin is going to ball this year.”

Iv’e been hearing that for the last 6 years. He put the invisible cloak back on tonight. lol

ctrim

November 2nd, 2012
10:35 pm

Thought the bench played well tonight- Zaza, Stevenson, Lou were sparks. Curious as to why Ivan didn’t play when it was obvious we needed his energy and rebound ability. Harris started off on fire with 9 points in the first and vanished completely. Looks like we might get to use Houston’s first round pick after all- Harden was very impressive and Houston will be in the playoffs. Dissapointed in play of Teague, Josh and Al. Weird flow and vibe to the game overall. Not the end of the world and its a long season. In Danny we trust.

MattP

November 2nd, 2012
10:35 pm

Don’t really care much for this year, since most of the roster is going to be gone this summer. Just hope Ferry does something about the coaching before the off season.

maaavelous marv

November 2nd, 2012
10:35 pm

Kyle Korver? HAAAAAAA. Soft, baby.

Slimjr

November 2nd, 2012
10:37 pm

KNICKS WIN BY 20 against the Champs!

Melo goes for 30 and 10!

Woody 2x> Larry Leisure