Archives For Houston Rockets

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

Alright first off: house cleaning. I apologise for missing a few of these early season games. Please understand that I not only live in Ireland (which means games are on very late) but I also work a full time job (which I didn’t have last season) and that drains a lot out of me, and I can’t stay up until 3 am after a full day of work to watch these games when I need to be up again at 7:30. I also just moved out of my family home into my own place and I’ve been trying to adjust to that too. I start part-time hours tomorrow, so you should hear more from me going forward. I know I didn’t have to say any of this but hey, I just did. Thanks for (hopefully) understanding — GC

The Atlanta Hawks halted their two game skid with a 112-97 victory over the Houston Rockets at Philips Arena. Let’s dive right in.

Dwight Howard squares off against his old team

This was Dwight’s first game against the Rockets since he traded H-Town for Atlanta in free agency, and he had himself a good game. He prepared himself for this game somewhat differently than his Atlanta teammates are accustomed to.

“…He showed up in a nice suit tonight. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. That is the first time I’ve seen him wear a suit.” — Kyle Korver

Well, someone didn’t watch his press opener… Or maybe Korver meant that he hadn’t seen Dwight arrive to a game in a suit. Probably that.

On the court, Dwight recorded another double-double — his fifth in the first six games — scoring 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. The previous two losses didn’t sit well with Dwight, he really wanted to get that win last night.

“When you get outworked by a team for 48 minutes, it doesn’t sit well with you. Against the Lakers, those guys hit some tough shots. That was one of those games where you are like ‘Ah man, we played great defense and those guys made tough shots.’ But then last night, they just outworked us. You can watch it on film. They were going for loose balls, trying to outrebound us, all the little things. You can’t allow that to happen, especially if our goal is to win a championship.” — Dwight Howard

It wasn’t just Dwight that wanted to beat his former team, his teammates understood what this game meant to Dwight and wanted to win it for him.

“We know that Dwight wanted to win tonight. We wanted to play well for him…” — Kyle Korver

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Kent Bazemore hasn’t gotten off to the start he would like to so far this season offensively, but knocked off the rust just in time for one of his biggest free agency suitors this summer — the Houston Rockets. Bazemore finished the game with 20 points, shooting 7-12 from the field and 75 percent from beyond the arc. Last season he showed improvement all around, but especially from downtown, shooting 50 percent in the first six games as opposed to just 15 percent this season. It’s far too early to begin to panic, but after agreeing to a 4-year, $70 million contract in the offseason, more eyes are observing Bazemore than ever before.

“I don’t think it’s about the contract,” Bazemore said. “It’s about me having another year in the NBA, this is my fifth year. I have very high expectations for myself. I’m trying to exceed them for myself and I may be pressing a little, but that’s human nature, you want to be great.

Bazemore has mostly been known as a defender in this league, so his offensive production has rarely been his sole focus. He has always guarded the opposing team’s best wing player — like a James Harden or Lebron James — but now he’s also being asked to handle the ball a little bit more this season with the departure of Jeff Teague and insertion of a young Dennis Schroder, which may take some time to adjust. However, more responsibility offers a chance to reach his own offensive goals and aspirations. Guys like Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler can serve as an inspiration for someone like Bazemore — both dominant defensive wings who were able to work their way into being dominant two-way players.

“Being a two way player is what I want to be known for,” Bazemore said. “Defense is what got me here and is probably 10 percent physical attributes and the rest is mental. But I want to continue to expand my game as a player and don’t want to be a guy teams don’t have to guard because I’ve been that guy so much in my life.”

 

However, for Bazemore, his optimism stems from his play last year that resulted in career highs in several categories. Houston took notice of Kent’s improvement and aimed much of their offseason energy in his direction, hoping to add more versatility alongside Harden and Ariza. In a league obsessed with the long ball more than ever before, his services were in high demand. Bazemore’s. The decision between the two organizations was far from easy as his relationship with Coach Mike D’Antoni was strong enough to pique his interest.

 

Listen to Bazemore below as to what ultimately kept him in Atlanta.

 

 

At the moment he’s happy and secure in Atlanta under a Budenholzer system that puts him in the best positions to make an impact on the offensive end. The biggest task for him this season is finding a comfort zone off the dribble in midrange territory. Good defenses will force him off the three-point line and into circumstances when a pull up jumper is necessary. Coming into tonight’s game he was just 6-28 from 16 feet to the three point line

His bank account may have changed but the gleeful kid from Kelford, NC remains positive and grounded in what got him this far.

 

“It’s all about timing and putting in the rhythm. Still putting in the work,still showing up, still lifting weights and still playing defense. The shot will come, there is no need to panic”, said Bazemore.

 

Watch Bazemore’s first 20 point game of the season below!

 

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Have you ever known a thing — or a person — to be present in your life for nine years, only for them to walk out/exist no more after one June night? Well, that’s the reality of what happened to Hawks fans with Al Horford this summer — the All-Star center who left the only professional team he has ever known to join the Boston Celtics.

Horford was a constant in Atlanta ever since the day he was selected by the Hawks with the third overall pick in 2007, and the thought of him not being a part of the pre game player announcements (and part of the Hawks as a whole, of course) is certainly an odd thing to think about now, let alone actually seeing (or not seeing him in this case) the reality of situation on opening night.

Normally the thought of Al Horford leaving Atlanta would have been near catastrophic as the Hawks aren’t normally known for attracting the top free agents, thus filling the void Horford left (who certainly ranks among the better centers in the league) would’ve proved very difficult. But the Hawks did not leave anything to chance in an unpredictable free agency and decided to bring a center on board, even before Horford announced his intentions to sign with the Celtics.

But the Hawks didn’t just acquire any center, they acquired a high profile center — at least in terms of his name — in Dwight Howard. While the Hawks aren’t getting the best version of Dwight Howard, he was a very big fish for the Hawks to catch — the Hawks don’t normally sign players with a name as big as Dwight Howard’s. But what his signature provided the Hawks with was a very decent safety net in the event Horford did choose to leave, which he ultimately did. With Dwight’s signature agreed upon, losing Horford was not as catastrophic as it could’ve been.

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The Atlanta Hawks rolled to their fifth consecutive victory following their 109-97 triumph over the Houston Rockets. Michael Beasley — yes, Michael Beasley of all people — led all scorers with 30 points off of the Houston bench on the second night of their back-to-back sled. The Hawks, meanwhile, were led by Al Horford’s 22 points (on 10-of-19 shooting) and nine rebounds.

A five game winning streak can only mean one thing…

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That’s right, for the first time since the very early stages of this season, the HaWWWWWks are back.

Dwight Howard and “Sticky-gate”

OK, OK. In all seriousness, this is the thing that people are actually talking about — and I guess this is what we’re calling it?

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The Atlanta Hawks may not be seen as one of the most physically intimidating teams in the league, but their mental toughness makes up for that and then some.

In December, Atlanta battled back to win 121-115 against the Houston Rockets after overcoming a 17-point deficit at halftime. Today, the Hawks fought through a dismal second quarter of nine turnover and Mike Beasley’s best game off the bench since returning to the league (30 points); but once again, that showed the true make up of this team.

“I feel like we are a much better team right now than we were before, said Al Horford, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. “We are much more focused, our defense is really good and we are starting to put it together on the offensive end.” Continue Reading…

Al Horford scored a season-high 30 points as Atlanta defeated Houston 121-115 for the team’s seventh win in eight games. The Hawks have now won four straight against Houston.

Four Atlanta starters scored 20-plus points, however the Hawks found themselves in rocky waters early. Houston went on a 15-0 run, led by James Harden’s nine, to take a commanding 41-25 lead into the second quarter.

Though trailing most of the contest, the Hawks exhibited a wellspring of resilience in the later stages of play. Behind 71-56 at the half, Atlanta went on a 23-11 run -sparked by Horford’s early seven- to gridlock the score at 82 with 4:30 remaining in the penultimate period of play. Unfazed, the Rockets would respond with a 10-3 run to enter the final stanza ahead 92-85.

The Hawks would hang tough in the fourth to make a dog-fight of matters midway through the final 12. Atlanta would employ the intentional foul strategy to Houston’s Clint Capela (43 percent free-throw) and Dwight Howard (50 percent) to stymie the Rockets’ offensive flow and eventually spark a 9-0 run late to prevail 121-115. Continue Reading…

A night after having their six-game winning streak snapped, the Atlanta Hawks look to get back on track against the home-standing Houston Rockets. Atlanta has defeated the Rockets in the teams’ previous three meetings.

Houston comes in to tonight’s tilt having won four of their last six. However, the Rockets dropped a 110-108 road defeat to the lowly New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Ranked 26th in the league in points allowed (105) Houston gave up 63 first-half points, while being lit up by the tandem of Anthony Davis (24) and Eric Gordon (26).

The Rockets’ leading scorer, James Harden (28.4), netted 24 on 8-of-21 shooting from the field. The league’s third-leading rebounder Dwight Howard was held to nine boards and seven points in Houston’s two-point loss.

The Rockets are currently seventh in the west at 16-16. Houston’s Christmas day win over mighty San Antonio (27-6) followed by a loss to woeful New Orleans (10-21) has exemplified the team’s streaky season. Continue Reading…

The Rockets were without James Harden and Dwight Howard, but were still deadly enough to nearly take out the Hawks with a barrage of shots in the first three quarters. However, the Hawks rallied behind a hot crowd in the fourth quarter and completed a 18-point comeback to win 104-96.

“Seems like we were constantly trying to dig ourselves out of a hole,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer on his players. “The last one I think we went down 15 with nine or ten minutes left in the quarter and they found a way to make one more run to get over the hump.”

The Hawks came out of the gates extremely sluggish, as Jeff Teague’s lack of attention on the opening tip led to an easy layup for the Rockets instead of the Hawks taking possession. This sloppy play persisted throughout the first quarter, punctuated by nine Atlanta turnovers, which resulted in a 31-22 Rockets lead after 12 minutes of play.

“I didn’t like our focus coming out,” said Budenholzer, who was assessed a technical foul in the first quarter.

The Rockets continued to pile on in the second quarter, with Jason Terry and Terrence Jones combining for 21 points in the period. The Hawks interior defense on Jones was non-existent and Terry kept punishing the out-of-position Hawks by nailing open 3-pointers.

“They were doing a lot of great things offensively,” said Al Horford, who scored 18 points in the game. “It kept us guessing a lot of the time. We prepared for playing against, you know, like James Harden and everything and it kind of changes how you’re going to approach the game.” Continue Reading…

With how good the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs often are, it is hard for road teams from the East to come into Texas and expect any success. The Hawks are not an exception to that, but Atlanta grinded out a rare victory in the Lone Star state, beating the Rockets 104-97. The Hawks now sit at 19-7 and have now won 14 of their last 16 games.

Atlanta managed to pull it out in the end thanks to some nice passing and solid execution. It also helped that Jason Terry completely forgot to cover Kyle Korver during one of the game’s most crucial moments.

While the game started off close, it wasn’t like that until midway through the third quarter. The Hawks had a decently-sized lead through most of the first half thanks to crisp ball movement getting them a lot of open looks. For the majority of the game, the best the Rockets could do was go on a small run occasionally, but the Hawks would withstand it and get right back to business and build up their lead once more. That was until the Rockets adjusted.

During halftime, the Rockets made some tweaks that managed to get them back into the game, tying the game up by the end of the quarter. Part of it was the Hawks just not hitting shots, but the Rockets rotations were much more organized in the second half; when the Hawks started to move the ball, the Rockets were right there to contest the shot. Continue Reading…

FINAL

HOU.gif(23-14) 83 – 80 (20-17)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Korver (ATL): 20 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl
J. Harden (HOU): 25 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Rockets jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter, but Mike Scott responded with eight first quarter points to keep the Hawks within a reasonable distance. The Hawks then won the next two quarters 55-42 to take a 65-60 lead into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, the Hawks used a DeMarre Carroll three-pointer to take a 79-78 advantage that they would not relinquish as four free throws from Kyle Korver iced the game in favor of the Hawks. The win gives the Hawks 20 on the season as they improved to 14-5 in Philips Arena.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: After four very rough games for Millsap, he was able to respond against Houston. His jumper was still a little off, but he did get a couple of three-pointers to fall. His four offensive rebounds were very important, as that was one of the keys that pushed the Hawks to victory despite a 37.2% shooting night from team. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre’s night kind of reminded me of Pero’s game against Charlotte. He was doing the little things throughout the game, but he could not hit a shot to save his life. Finally, with the Hawks trailing 78-76, he got a three to fall. 6/10

Pero Antic: Not a very good night for Pero, who finish with four points on eight shots. On defense, he wasn’t doing completely terrible, but Dwight was simply too physical for Pero on some possessions. The result was Pero getting into foul trouble and a minutes increase for Elton Brand. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was outplayed by both Lou-Will and Shelvin tonight. Dwight Howard’s defense probably gave Jeff the most difficulties of any ATL player, as Jeff just couldn’t do what he wanted in the lane. Outside of the lane, Jeff was consistently short on his jumper, which is very reminiscent of how he was shooting the ball at the beginning of the season. 4/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle Korver has been the team’s top performer in consecutive wins against Indiana and Houston. Korver was 6-for-11 from the field and his three three-pointers in the third quarter were huge for the Hawks being able to take the lead. Korver also played very strong defense in the second half, as his digs and activity caused problems for Houston’s big and their guards. 9/10 Continue Reading…