Recap of the Hawks vs. Rockets game on 12-31-12
The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Houston Rockets 123-104 on the road. This was the first game of a back-to-back set for the Hawks. This was also the first game of a three-game road trip for the Hawks. With the loss, the Hawks dropped to 19-10 on the season, 0-2 in the regular season series with the Rockets, 0-1 in their back-to-back set, and 0-1 on their road trip. The starters for the Hawks were Jeff Teague and Louis Williams in the backcourt, Kyle Korver and Josh Smith at the two forward positions, and Al Horford at center. Anthony Morrow (right hip strain) and Devin Harris (sore left foot) were not with the team. The leading scorer for the Hawks was Louis Williams, with 21 points. Al Horford added a double-double, with 18 points and 13 boards. Josh Smith contributed 17 points and seven rebounds. John Jenkins came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points. Jeff Teague pitched in 10 points and nine assists, nearly notching a double-double on the night. The leading scorer for the Rockets was James Harden, with a game-high 28 points. In the first quarter, Al Horford had eight points and five rebounds to help the Hawks to a 27-26 lead after one. In the second quarter, the Rockets went on a 16-0 run and took a 64-46 lead over the Hawks at the break as James Harden buried a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds to go on the game clock. In the third quarter, the Hawks went on an 18-8 run behind 15 points in the quarter from Louis Williams, but the Rockets quickly responded with a 9-0 run. The Hawks entered the final frame trailing by 15. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks used a 12-2 run to cut their deficit to five. However, Carlos Delfino continued to pour on the points for the Rockets and scored 11 points in the period, and the Hawks lost by 19. I think there are two key reasons the Hawks lost. The first is that they were slow to close out on the Rockets' shooters. This resulted in the Rockets nailing 16-29 from beyond the arc. Secondly, the Hawks refused to attack the basket. They attempted seven free-throws all game. Those seven free-throw attempts were split between just two Hawks players. The Rockets went to the charity stripe to shoot 22 attempts. Tough loss for the Hawks to snap their four-game winning streak.