Archives For Houston Rockets

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…


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

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…


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

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…