Rockets keep stepping up in rout of Hawks

Rockets keep stepping up in rout of Hawks
November 27, 2013, 11:15 pm
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(Thomas Campbell - USA Today Sports Images)

The Rockets went into their Wednesday night game against the Hawks shorthanded, with starting shooting guard James Harden missing his third straight game with a sore foot. Barely over four minutes into the game, his replacement, Jeremy Lin, went out with a knee injury and did not return.

Houston didn’t miss a beat as they got plenty of offense from the bench, and dominated the Hawks, 113-84.

Both Francisco Garcia, with 21 points, and Omer Asik, who had 10 points, posted season highs and Aaron Brooks produced his second 20-point game in the last three to give the Rockets their largest margin of victory this season.

Garcia scored 21 points, his most since joining the Rockets last season. He had only scored 21 points over his last seven games and had been in a pronounced shooting slump. Over his last nine games, he was just 9-of-39 shooting (23 percent). He was 9-of-14 tonight.

“(Fran)cisco is a really good three-point shooter and we put him in that position a lot,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. “I think layups help. I think any time you drive and get a layup it makes you feel better. Just him making a couple of those really stretched it out. We got a couple of shots for him and he knocked them down and that was big.”

“My teammates, they give me a lot of confidence,” Garcia said. “They want me to shoot the ball in the flow of the game.

“It's good when you play with teammates like that who give you support. We've got a good team here. We've got good chemistry going right now.”

Brooks added 21 points and has made 11-of-17 3-pointers in the last three games with Harden still out.

“Aaron has had two fantastic games here at the Toyota Center,” McHale said. “He stays ready.”

As a team, the Rockets shot 14-of-27 (51.9 percent) on 3-pointers. It’s the second time in three games they’ve shot better than 50 percent. That comes after shooting no better than 42.9 percent in their first 13 games of the season.

“As always, when you kind of go through a period where you don't shoot the ball very well, the dam finally breaks and water flows,” McHale said.

The bench produced 67 points, easily their high mark of season. Their previous high was 56 against Dallas, but they have gotten more than 39 points from the bench only one other time.

Overall the Rockets made 43-of-78 (55.1 percent) from the floor tonight. Houston has now gone a combined 242-of-455 (53.2 percent) from the field over its last six games. They’ve been near the top of the league in true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage all year and this recent stretch has them second in the NBA in both categories.