Rockets - Hawks preview

Rockets - Hawks preview
January 10, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Howard on the Rockets' upcoming road trip

Know Your Foe: Rockets- Hawks

When these two teams met in Houston in late November, Houston was riding a two-game winning streak, while Atlanta was on a two-losing streak. Their respective streaks each reached three with a one-sided blowout victory for the Rockets, 113-84. It’s the largest margin of victory the Rockets have enjoyed all season and it was the worst defeat of the season for the Hawks. Houston never trailed in the game.

The Rockets had six players reach double figures in scoring, three of them coming from reserves. Off the bench, both Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks scored 21 points with Omer Asik adding ten. Houston played without James Harden, but played with Pat Beverley and Asik, who are both out for Friday’s game.

Beverley is still a couple of weeks away from returning from a broken right hand and Asik is still unsure of his return from knee and thigh pain in his right leg. Following Friday’s shootaround, Rockets head coach said forward Chandler Parsons was doubtful for the game with his sore right leg. Parsons missed the Rockets 113-99 win against the Lakers on Wednesday with the injury.

Who are the Hawks?

The Hawks are without a leader and go-to guy, since center Horford was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle the day after Christmas. Remarkably, the Hawks are 3-4 since losing him, including their surprising, dominant win over Indiana on Wednesday. Paul Millsap had taken on the bulk of the scoring prior to the Indiana game, averaging 21.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in the first six games of Horford’s absence. (Horford was averaging 21.3 points and 9.2 rebounds for the month of December before he was hurt.) Millsap is first among eastern conference forwards in double-doubles with 16.

Center Pero Antic did not play against the Rockets in their first meeting in November, but he has started the last four games and will help spread the floor. While averaging 12.25 points per game in those starts, Antic has shot 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) on 3-pointers. Exactly two-thirds of his field goal attempts have been behind the three-point line in those games.

Kyle Korver also missed the game, the last time the Rockets and Hawks played with a rib injury. He’s third in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (47.3 percent) and he’s fifth in the league in 3-point attempts per game. His 65.3 adjusted field goal percentage is number one in the league. His streak of 105 consecutive games with at least one made 3-pointer is the longest in NBA history. His previous best streak was only 28 games.

Hawks Last Game

Millsap had his lowest point total of the season with just four points on 1-of-10 shooting in the Hawks’ last game on Wednesday when they hosted the Indiana Pacers. But the Hawks still managed to beat the Pacers, in a game Indiana never held the lead at all, 97-87. Atlanta scored the game’s first 12 points and never let the Pacers get closer than eight points the rest of the game. Atlanta held Indiana to just 40.2 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers. Indiana came into the game with the league’s best record, but lost their 12th consecutive game in Atlanta.