Hawks vs Rockets preview: Atlanta looks to shake off struggles in Houston

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Hawks look to get back on track in Houston when they take on the Rockets who could be without leading scorer James Harden.

The good news for the Atlanta Hawks, who are coming off a pair of disappointing losses at home, is that they are right back at it on Wednesday night. The bad news is that the game is in Houston against the Rockets where they have had very little success over the years.

Atlanta comes into Wednesday's game having lost 19 of 21 in Houston dating back to the 1992-93 season and five straight overall in the series. The Rockets swept Atlanta last season with James Harden doing most of the damage averaging over 36 points per game in the two meetings. Harden has missed the last two games with a sore foot and will be a game-time decision on Wednesday against Atlanta. The Hawks are unlikely to shed a tear if Harden is unable to go.

Atlanta is 8-7 on the season and one of three Eastern Conference teams with a better than .500 record. A closer examination however reveals a soft early season schedule and the lack of a signature win for these Hawks. Atlanta is 7-4 against the East this season and just 1-3 against the West despite a couple of close losses to the Lakers and Nuggets on the road.

Part of the reason for Atlanta's recent struggles has been a sputtering offense. After scoring at least 100 points in nine of their first 10 games, Atlanta has been held under 96 in each of the past five games. Opponents have successfully slowed the pace and are paying more attention to Jeff Teague defensively and looking to take the ball out of his hand.

Houston is 10-5 on the season and have won two straight without Harden. Dwight Howard is settling in nicely at center averaging 17.7 points and 13.2 rebounds. Despite having Howard in the post, the Rockets like to push the pace and are one of the better offensive teams in the league with an offensive rating of 108.1.

The Hawks are expected to be without back up point guard Shelvin Mack due to an ankle injury that he suffered on Tuesday against the Magic. Lou Williams also won't play due to the back-to-back so back up point guard duties will fall to rookie Dennis Schröder who has recently fallen out of the rotation.

Game Info

Game date/time: Wednesday, November 27, 8 p.m.

Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

TV: SportSouth

Radio: 92.9 FM "The Game"

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