Archives For Houston Rockets

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…

FINAL

HOU(11-5) 113 – 84 (8-8) ATL    

Key Performers:
A. Brooks (HOU): 21 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl
A. Horford (ATL): 14 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Rockets were without James Harden, and then Jeremy Lin after he left the game in the first quarter due to injury. Didn’t matter, as the Rockets routed the Hawks with a barrage of three-pointers. Aaron Brook and Francisco Garcia each scored 21 off of the bench, and Houston scored 36 points in the fourth quarter to close the game out. The Hawks may have been without Kyle Korver, Lou Williams, and Shelvin Mack, but losing by 29 to a Rockets team that was playing without Harden and Lin isn’t an ideal result. I guess this does help show how important Korver’s spacing is to this team. The Hawks have now lost three straight games.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Al did his best on Dwight Howard, and the Rockets big man only had 11 points and eight rebounds. However, Horford didn’t do too much on the offensive end, scoring 14 points on 14 shots, many of which were wide open jumpers that he needs to be hitting at a better clip. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Not a good night for Teague. He was killed defensively, and his offense just wasn’t there. He was 0-for-5 from the field in the first quarter, and he didn’t take a shot after that point. He did have six assists and probably should have had a few more, but he definitely wasn’t able to attack the rim as effectively with Howard and Asik manning the paint for the Rockets. 5/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was battling foul trouble for some of the night, but when he was in, he was doing his best to take advantage of Terrence Jones and Omri Casspi. Millsap had 16 points on just 10 shots and he was dominating on the block. He did have a few head-scratching turnovers in this game, but he was definitely the most effect Hawk on offense. 6.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: 2-for-8 from the field is not what you want from DeMarre. The Hawks have weirdly been running pick-and-rolls for DeMarre lately, and it’s effective sometimes… but a lot of times it is ending up with DeMarre taking weird looking floaters in the lane, which is really a shot I only want Jeff Teague or Lou Williams to take. 4/10

Cartier Martin: Starting in Kyle’s place, Cartier was actually effective in being the team’s go-to three-point shooter. Cartier scored 14 points, including 4-for-7 from behind the arc. Defensively, he was… you know what, everyone was awful defensively. Just assume that for each following player unless I note otherwise. 7/10 Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 45-37 (8th in West)z-rockets

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Reggie Williams (free agent), Omri Casspi (free agent)) – oh and that Dwight Howard guy.

Key Losses: Carlos Delfino (free agent), Thomas Robinson (trade)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 52-30 (5th in West)*

What to Expect: Here’s the thing with Houston. Last year they were exceptional on offense with a very efficiency-driven approach. That meant a lot of threes and a lot of free throws. The flip side was that they were “meh” defensively with the team relying on Omer Asik in his first year as a starter and defensive anchor and Carlos Delfino who was 31. What changed? Well, they got Dwight freakin’ Howard.

Now immediately you think Dwight Howard, top echelon center, on top of this young and prolific core of James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley/Jeremy Lin means a cemented spot among the top teams in the Western Conference.

Yes, and no.

The Rockets’ biggest issue was their defense, and nabbing Howard to take Asik’s spot wasn’t a huge upgrade. Howard is obviously better at that end, but questions remain about his health with the back problem that seemingly has been bothersome for over a year. Not to mention that Houston really has little help defensively for Dwight, losing Delfino and quite possibly starting Lin over the defensive spark-plug Beverley this year. One could say starting Asik with Howard would alleviate these concerns, and that’s true, but they’d just bring up spacing ones on the other end. Obviously, Howard is a major upgrade over Asik in terms of offense. Continue Reading…

Of course, with Chris Paul likely off the table and Dwight Howard expected to sign elsewhere, eyes turn to Atlanta’s own free agent in Josh Smith.

On Sunday, Josh met with the Detroit Pistons, who apparently made a rather intriguing offer.

Detroit would be a rather strange fit with Smoove. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are good players, but both work best when they are closer to the basket, meaning that Josh would again find himself out on the perimeter. Of course, after Detroit’s last free agency debacle (Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva), they are definitely looking to sign a guy that’s actually good this time around. Even with as much criticism as Smoove takes, he’s still a good player.

Reports say that Smith returning to Atlanta isn’t out of the question. According to Yahoo!’s Marc Spears, Smith is very respectful of Mike Budenholzer’s tenure under Gregg Popovich and would still be very open about returning to his hometown team. With CP3 and Dwight likely out of the equation, the Hawks are going to have to offer money to someone and all indications are that Smoove may be that someone.

FINAL

HOU (17-14) 123 – 104 (19-10) ATL

Key Performers:
C. Delfino (HOU): 22 pts, 4 rebs, 8 asts
A. Horford (ATL): 18 pts, 13 rebs, 4 asts, 1 stl

[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks, plagued by poor perimeter defense, allowed Carlos Delfino and James Harden to rain fire from outside the arc. Atlanta cut Houston’s lead to 5 in the fourth quarter, but Jeremy Lin’s stout defense and more defensive lapses from the Hawks enabled Delfino and the Rockets to put Atlanta away for good.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Smith’s strong defensive presence inside was one of the main reasons the Hawks were able to cut into the lead in the third quarter. He never played in the fourth as LD was resting Josh’s sore knee so he’d be available for tomorrow night, but 17 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes isn’t too shabby. He also hit the jumpers he took, and while his shot selection wasn’t stellar, there’s no point with arguing the results. He was 5-12 from the field, but most of the misses, surprisingly, were within 15-feet. 6/10

Al Horford: Horford played a fantastic game as he initiated the offense early and was a beast on the boards. He hit his mid-range jumpers and played strong defense, but like Smith, he didn’t see any run in the 4th quarter. He played 31 minutes, and he was awesome in all 31. 9/10

Lou Williams: There are times when Lou Williams just cannot seem to miss. And for a stretch in the second half, it was one of those times. Lou caught fire from the perimeter and single-handedly resurrected a dead Atlanta offense. He came off of screens for his patented drifting three-pointers, he penetrated the lane for floaters and layups, and he seemed to cause quite a few Houston defensive breakdowns. He was the spark in this game, and had he played in the fourth quarter, the Hawks might have won this game– or at least seen a more friendly final score. 8/10

Zaza Pachulia: Zaza had one or two nice moments tonight, but for the most part, he was beat up inside by Greg Smith and Omer Asik. Both of those guys out-muscled and out-rebounded him in what was a difficult night for Pachulia. 2/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was a wreck to start the game, turning the ball over and missing from all over the field, but he initiated the Hawks second big 2nd half run. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, he was playing pesky defense, initiating the fast break, and finding open players. He finished with 9 assists on the night, but his 5 turnovers and 4-17 shooting line was the real story. Had he not struggled so much so early, Atlanta might have been in a better position going into the half.  5/10

Continue Reading…

RECAP: Rockets 109, Hawks 102

Bo Churney —  November 2, 2012 — 2 Comments

FINAL

HOU(1-0) 109   –   102 (0-1)ATL

 Key Performers:

J. Harden (HOU): 45 pts, 7 rebs, 2 asts
L. Williams (ATL): 22 pts, 4 rebs, 5 asts, 3 stls
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well, welcome to super-stardom, Mr. Harden. The Beard went nuts, scoring 45 points (a career high) on 14-19 shooting and 15-17 from the line. Atlanta couldn’t stop him and Jeremy Lin, who nearly had a triple-double himself. Lou Williams had 13 in the 4th quarter, but it wasn’t enough to give the Hawks their sixth-straight season opening win.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Smoove did play good on the defensive end and showed some nice work around the basket, but again took too many jumpers. (2-7 on those) Asik did play great against him in the post, but Josh’s commitment at times around the basket was a plus. 18 points on 21 shots isn’t going to cut it, though. 6/10

Al Horford: Horford was just destroyed by Asik on the boards in the first half. He did shoot efficiently, though, going 6-10 with 14 points. Him only taking 10 shots (and only one in the first) is not the proper gameplan. 6/10

Lou Williams: Sweet Lou shot poorly early, but showed up late in the game and kept the Hawks in it. His play making off from the two-guard spot is such a contrast from ol’ Joe Johnson, and Lou’s driving ability opened up so many lanes and opportunities for Atlanta. I know Larry Drew likes to have a spark-plug off the bench, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lou slide into the starting lineup if he keeps playing games like this. 8/10

Zaza Pachulia: Zaza’s play, like Lou’s, was also instrumental in the Hawks getting back in the game. He had 13 points and 8 boards, which were huge considering the Hawks didn’t look like they could rebound anything against Asik for a while. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Had a quiet 14 and 7, which is great, but he still made some costly errors. For one, he wasn’t aggressive at all; the officials were calling practically any contact on drives, and Jeff hardly drove into the lane. There was also the possession late in the game, where he passed up and open three to pass to… Josh Smith… for three. (which I wouldn’t recommend, personally) 7/10 Continue Reading…