Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Hawks fall to the Rockets after a 45 point outburst from James Harden and Jeremy Lin's 21 points and 10 assists. Lou Williams led the Hawks with 22 points and five assists.
The Hawks got off to a quick start taking an early 12-6 lead, but the Rockets quickly took the lead thanks to 10 points from Marcus Morris off the bench, and a 20-8 rebound advantage over the Hawks. Omer Asik had seven rebounds in the first and Jeremy Lin had three, all offensive. The Hawks trailed 28-21 after the first quarter, and that seven point differential turned out to be the difference in the game.
The second quarter got off to a slow start, but Al Horford began asserting himself offensively with eight second quarter points, while DeShawn Stevenson hit a pair of threes, including one at the end of the half, to keep the Hawks in the game and only down 53-44.
Atlanta pulled back into the game in the third by turning up their defensive pressure seven turnovers and turning those into nine points. Jeff Teague had eight in the quarter, many coming in transition, but the Hawks still could not find an answer for the backcourt duo of Harden and Lin who had 10 each in the quarter.
The Hawks rallied back to take a 90-87 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets went on a quick 10-0 run with just under five minutes to play that included back-to-back and-one opportunities for Harden (who went 1-for-2 of free throws). Harden finished the quarter with 18 points and had 45 total for the game, a career high. Lin added 21 points points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists in the victory. Lou Williams put forth a valiant fourth quarter effort scoring 13 of his 22 points in the final period, while Josh Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.