Atlanta Hawks: Rockets 123, Hawks 104 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Houston.

James Harden killed the Hawks again.

The Rockets guard scored a game-high 28 points en route to a 123-104 victory over the Hawks Monday night at the Toyota Center. It was Harden, you’ll remember, who poured in 45 points in a Rockets victory in the Hawks’ season-opener. That’s two games and 73 points.

Harden had 11 third-quarter points as the Hawks tried to come back from a 21-point deficit. It was the 13th consecutive 20-plus point game for Harden, a career-best.

“Not quite the way I wanted to finish 2012,” coach Larry Drew said. “I have to give credit where credit is due. This team is very hard for us to match up against. The fact is that they do such a phenomenal job off the dribble. We have a hard time defending this team off the dribble. They have four guys the starting lineup that can all make 3s, are all good coming off the dribble.”

The Hawks (19-10) had their four-game win streak snapped.

Lou Williams led the Hawks with 21 points. Al Horford added 18 points, including eight of the Hawks’ first 12, and 13 rebounds. Josh Smith returned after missing a game with a hip injury with 17 points. John Jenkins had 15 points, the second straight game the rookie has set a career-high in points.

The Rockets (17-14) had their two-game losing streak snapped. Carlos Delfino came off the bench with a season-high 22 points, including six 3-pointers. Jeremy Lin added 16 points. The Rockets scored a total of 48 points in the paint.

In all, the Rockets shot 55.2 percent (16 of 29) from 3-point range.

“We just had a hard time stopping them,” Kyle Korver said. “We tried a few different things on defense but they score a lot of points in transition and we didn’t get back well enough. They shot the ball extremely well. They made a lot of 3s and stretched us out and the pick-and-roll is even harder to guard. We just gave up too many things.”

The Hawks closed to within five points, 102-97, with 5:21 remaining on a Jenkins 3-pointer. Delfino then scored five straight points and Harden added a three-point play, with a shimmy following the foul, to put the game out of reach. It was part of a 21-7 Rockets’ run to end the game.

The Hawks made the run with four starters – Williams, Korver, Smith and Horford – on the bench. Drew said he briefly considered bring the unit back after the game became close.

“I was going to ride those guys because they were playing so well,” Drew said.

The Rockets built a 21-point lead in the second quarter with a 16-0 run. The streak included four 3-pointers – three straight to start the run. Drew elected not to use a timeout for the entire 3:48 that the Hawks failed to score.

“I had considered it but I chose not to do it,” Drew said of using a timeout. “I chose for our guys just to play through it. We have to get to the point where we can handle those type of situations. I had some starters in the game and there are going to be times where they are going to have to regroup without a timeout being called. At that time, I elected not to call a timeout.”

The Hawks shot just 29.4 percent (7 of 24) in the second quarter. Their one-point first-quarter lead turned into an 18-point halftime deficit of 64-46. Harden had 14 first-half points for the Rockets as Lin chipped in with 11 points and Omer Asik had 12 rebounds. Asik finished with 17 boards.

The Hawks cut deep into the Rockets lead in the third quarter and trailed by only eight points, 81-73. Williams scored 15 points in the quarter. However, the Rockets answered with a 9-0 run to regain control.

“Nights like this happen where you throw up a dud and sometimes the other team is just better than you and you have to get over it and get ready for the next one,” Williams said.

The Hawks complete a stretch of four games in four cities in five days Tuesday at New Orleans.

- Chris Vivlamore

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* Williams remains in starting lineup

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* Hawks 92, Bulls 75

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106 comments Add your comment

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
9:14 pm

Well that sucked. Happy new year.

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
9:16 pm

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
9:17 pm

Sautee

December 31st, 2012
9:19 pm

Is the Jenkins genie out of the bottle?

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
9:20 pm

REPOST

High-sider
December 31st, 2012
9:12 pm

If the Hawks had won tonight, I was gonna start referring to LD as “Long-term Deal” but after this disastrous loss to the Rockets, he’s still [the] “Lame Duck.”

kwooden1

December 31st, 2012
9:20 pm

Tough loss, Houston shot great from 3, which is what we did against Indiana the other night. It was good to JJ make some layups and get to the free-throw line. Hopefully he can develop his game more and find a way to get his shot off more. Hate to see Jeff have such a poor-shooting night, I thought it might go that way when his first drive was blocked. Got another one tomorrow night though, so time to move on

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

GO HAWKS!!

Hypebeast

December 31st, 2012
9:20 pm

Dang, Rockets flexed on us. and lol@Vivalmore with the quick game summary. C-Viv must be in a rush to hit a NYE party. C-Viv ’bout to turn up!

northcyde

December 31st, 2012
9:21 pm

Party time for the Hawks.

- Go to The Drake @ 10:30
- Party with the rest of the Rockets, Pilar, and all the fine women in Houston.
- Leave about 1:30 am
- Sleep
- Checkout at 10 am
- Take this loss out on New Orleans tomorrow

Honesty

December 31st, 2012
9:22 pm

We got beat with a basic drive and kick game…Smh!!!

MattP

December 31st, 2012
9:22 pm

This wasn’t as horrible as Nets 5 point 3rd quarter.

Hypebeast

December 31st, 2012
9:22 pm

^
|
|
turn up!

Honesty

December 31st, 2012
9:23 pm

They better go straight to the airport LOL!

Fleetwood B

December 31st, 2012
9:26 pm

Looks like our Hawks were ready to party instead of play ball.

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
9:30 pm

Very big mistake by LD, he cannot learn, he cannot analyse. I wrote before
the game that the small lineup is not a good idea. So everything went wrong:
Teague, Korver, Zaza played a mediocre game. Well, the Hawks are a incomplete
team. That SF problem will be haunting Hawks all the time unless DF can fix it…

Honesty

December 31st, 2012
9:31 pm

Small lineup wasn’t the problem. The problem came when LD went to our depleted bench Zaza and Ivan played like trash.

Rev in Tampa

December 31st, 2012
9:31 pm

No more Houston or Harden this year.

Nate ArchiBALL

December 31st, 2012
9:32 pm

Hawks attempted 7 FT’s (6 by Josh / 1 by JJ) made 6 for 86%. Rockets attempted 22 made 17 for 77%

Hypebeast

December 31st, 2012
9:33 pm

We might as well stop commentin’ C-Viv not worried about yall thats why he posted this super quick article. My boy C-Viv bout to turn up with the finest beverages in H-Town and 2 Texas Latin Stallions back at the room. Could be a wild night, might be on Instagram straight flexin’ tomorrow. Pop the molly I’m sweatin’, WOO!!!!

keith

December 31st, 2012
9:33 pm

BAD LUCK SLIPROCK STRIKES AGAIN!!!!!!

I Sincerley believe that Jos Smith’s presence on the floor hurts this team. His “BAD” far out weighs his “GOOD”. Time to cut “BAIT” with Josh and move forward…I knew this game would suck and before hand decided to watch a “Chick Show” with my wife………………………………………………………

Better Nights will be ahead…Josh only played 23 minutes tonight..BRING OVERHYPED OFF THE BENCH!!!

Honesty

December 31st, 2012
9:37 pm

So did Stevenson…on offense. Solid D I guess but I can’t reallysay that since we gave up som many threes.

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
9:37 pm

Honesty
December 31st, 2012
9:31 pm

Small lineup wasn’t the problem. The problem came when LD went to our depleted bench Zaza and Ivan played like trash
——————————————————————————————————————

You are mistaken. Just check how many points Rockets scored in the paint. Their SF Delfino who averaged only 8 points this season had a career game tonight. Does not this fact remind you anything??

Fleetwood B

December 31st, 2012
9:38 pm

Too much, dare I say Carlos Delfino? +34 for the game. James Harden was only +4. Is plus minus a good indicator of impact on the game or is this an anomaly?

Jamaaliver

December 31st, 2012
9:40 pm

With Jenkins playing so well, Morrow and Devin might never get back in the rotation.

Zaza should’ve started tonight as Asik is a bad matchup for Horford.

Josh should backup the PF/SF spots as the offense flows better without him.

keith

December 31st, 2012
9:41 pm

SMOY….GOING FORWARD JOSH SMITH SHOULD BE OUR 1ST GUY OFF THE BENCH”

Coming off the Bench for a while may make Josh a better Basketball player!!!

Jamaaliver

December 31st, 2012
9:42 pm

We’re having that issue with PT again, because all of our top players play the same 2 positions. (PG & PF)

Just Asking?

December 31st, 2012
9:42 pm

Coach Larry Drew where is that defense you were preaching to this team about? I don’t think it showed up.

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
9:42 pm

Happy New Year!

Hawks, take the “sting(er) out” [of] the Hornets in New Orleans tomorrow.

Slimjr

December 31st, 2012
9:43 pm

36,11, and 8 for the king James……

Houston owns the Hawks..

EmirS.

December 31st, 2012
9:44 pm

In those 3rd and 4th quarters when we were trying to get back into the game, our offense was clicking….but Josh and Al were on the bench. There was no defense to counter the Rockets offense. But when we had Al and Josh in the game, we weren’t generating enough offense while our defense was pretty on point.

It was a “pick your poison” kind of game tonight.

Anyways lets hope we do better tomorrow.

Happy New Years everyone!

Slimjr

December 31st, 2012
9:45 pm

19-10 at the end of the year 2012. I’ll take it..

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
9:45 pm

keith
December 31st, 2012
9:41 pm

SMOY….GOING FORWARD JOSH SMITH SHOULD BE OUR 1ST GUY OFF THE BENCH”

Coming off the Bench for a while may make Josh a better Basketball player!!!
———————————————————————————————————————

Actually, there might be some truth in your statement. The team chemistry seems to be better without Josh. This is a very unfortunate as I liked his game very much last year and partially that’s why I became The hawks fan…

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
9:47 pm

doc,

I guess you’re the (AJC Hawks blog) “prophet.” This (Hawks) team is and will be 19 – 10 at the end of December (2013) with the tenth (10th) loss coming “at the hands” of your boy, (Jeremy) Lin, and the Rockets, no less.

Slimjr

December 31st, 2012
9:51 pm

“But when we had Al and Josh in the game, we weren’t generating enough offense while our defense was pretty on point.”

Against above .500 teams we’ve seen this b4? It usually takes superior guard play to bail them out..

Need a Paul Pierce type at the 3..

Andrew Higgins would foot the bill…

Slimjr

December 31st, 2012
9:57 pm

Can u say the Hawks defense was engaged in escort service mode? Wow

Asik with 17 bds?

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
10:03 pm

Slimjr:

Actually those rebounds were all defensive. We got only 4 offensive ones, and here is why Zaza should be in the game from the beginning…

Buddy Grizzard

December 31st, 2012
10:04 pm

LD made zero effort to win this game. Got paid in his Vegas account tonight.

Buddy Grizzard

December 31st, 2012
10:09 pm

“Can u say the Hawks defense was engaged in escort service mode?”

Yep, our go-to wing defender DeShawn Stevenson was a team-worst -20 in 24 minutes. Harden and Delfino took his lunch money all night.

Buddy Grizzard

December 31st, 2012
10:17 pm

“Is the Jenkins genie out of the bottle?”

Hawks were outscored by double figures with Jenkins on the floor. Please put the genie back in the bottle.

Buddy Grizzard

December 31st, 2012
10:28 pm

“Does not this fact remind you anything?”

Reminds me that the Hawks cut Damion James, a legit small forward/wing defender and elite defensive rebounder in the preseason and kept DeShawn Stevenson, a washed up player who has to rest on back to backs and is -20 in 24 minutes after a night of rest trying to defend wings.

“Is plus minus a good indicator of impact on the game or is this an anomaly?”

It’s not an anomoly but it is influenced by factors like how well your teammates are playing while you are on the floor. Delfino absolutly destroyed the Hawks. I only saw the second half so I didn’t see Harden’s whole game but I watched Delfino get to the basket at will and set up teammates after getting penetration. Keep watching that +/- score so you won’t end up like Honesty making comments like “Stevenson… Solid D I guess.”

Slimjr

December 31st, 2012
11:01 pm

4 of 5 starters did not shoot a free-throw! Josh made 5 out of 6! Are you kidding me?

Al with zero blocks tonight!

Hmmmmmmm

Nate ArchiBALL

December 31st, 2012
11:10 pm

Slimjr – actually only 2 of the13 Hawks that played tonight attempted free-throws

Nate ArchiBALL

December 31st, 2012
11:16 pm

ZaZa was given a lot of credit for shutting down All-Star Roy Hibbert on Saturday but it seems that Roy has been paying at that level all season

http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/30/whats-wrong-with-roy-hibbert/

Slimjr

December 31st, 2012
11:22 pm

Rod from College Park

December 31st, 2012
7:56 pm

“Bottom line is when we are hitting the 3 we are good, when we are not we are not. Does not matter if Al is there and Josh is out or the other way around. The only other thing that makes a tremendous difference for our team, is if Teague is being aggressive.”

Agreed.. As usual its falls in the guards lap to bail them out..

Danny sees this and will address this if he wants to become an elite in two years..

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
11:25 pm

The only good thing happened today was that JJ got a HUGE playing experience. I hope next time he drops 20 points and, most importantly, limits his turnovers to a minimum…

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
11:28 pm

Nate ArchiBALL
December 31st, 2012
11:16 pm

ZaZa was given a lot of credit for shutting down All-Star Roy Hibbert on Saturday but it seems that Roy has been paying at that level all season…
—————————————————————————————-

But he also had 17 points and 14 rebounds…

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
11:30 pm

The problem is LD does not understand how to correctly utilize his players…

Dr. Ice

December 31st, 2012
11:31 pm

@Buddy

Anyone who watched the game can tell you jenkins did a fine job. Besides, half of the points in JJ’s plus-minus stat came from when the rockets outscored us 14-4 once LD brought in petro and the gang

He DEFINITELY needs to be playing over morrow

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
11:46 pm

I believe Jenkins has a bright future. He can become a deadly shooter, much better than Korver…

Buddy Grizzard

January 1st, 2013
12:08 am

Happy New Year blog peeps! I hope you are all trashed and partying with a bunch of hotties… I’m working until 9 AM :(

NUNNA!!

January 1st, 2013
12:35 am

Is it me or did i see JJ who shot pretty well tonite,franticly waving his hands and open most of the night??!!
His needs to work on his defensive assignments..He is not a good ball handler either..
But those are areas with increased PT he can fix..
But what he is,is exactly what we needed tonite..A scorer and they looked over the dude time and time again..