Kyle Korver made four free-throws in the last 15 seconds to seal an 83-80 win for the Hawks over the Houston Rockets.
DeMarre Carroll hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:54 left to play, putting the Hawks up 79-78. Jeremy Lin's game-tying three with six seconds left was reduced to a two-pointer, keeping the Hawks ahead 81-80. Korver's ensuing free-throws held that lead and capped off an impressive second half that erased what was mostly a putrid first two quarters for Atlanta offensively.
The Rockets jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game and continued to stymie the Hawks' scoring efforts thanks to Dwight Howard's early defensive impact. Mike Scott was the only redeeming factor for Atlanta in the first quarter. He scored eight of the Hawks' first 10 points and finished the half with 12, including four dunks. He was the spark that ignited the rest of Atlanta's offense, namely Shelvin Mack, which was able to cut the Rockets' halftime lead to 2, 41-39.
The Rockets opened the half once again having their way, but Paul Millsap began to fight through Terrence Jones on the boards and Kyle Korver began to catch fire from beyond the arc. The Hawks gained the lead midway through the third and never looked back.
Millsap scored 20 points on 8-18 shooting. Korver was the only other Atlanta starter to score in double figures. He also scored 20 points.
Mike Scott saved the Hawks early
No, really. The Hawks were playing some ugly ball to start the game, missing just about everything and playing an overall sloppy brand that we haven't grown accustomed to in Bud's tenure. Whatever, it's no big deal-- teams have bad stretches in games. But the Hawks didn't score until half-way through the first quarter and, if it weren't for Mike Scott, I'm not sold that the Hawks would have scored 10 points in the first quarter. If the Rockets had their heads screwed on, they really could have buried Atlanta early. But Mike Scott was just phenomenal, leaking out in transition and asserting himself down low.
DeMarre Carroll was... timely?
He was having a pretty atrocious offensive night. He was 0-8 from the field, his only claim to any points from his two free throws. He was also 0-5 from beyond the arc. But with the Hawks down 78-76, he sank a 24-footer and gave Atlanta the lead for good. You'd like a better outing and less three-point attempts from your defensive specialist, but I guess I'll take the dagger bucket.
Dwight Howard is a beast of a man
The dude is huge and Pero was getting bumped around in the paint all game trying to keep up with him. Howard, to no one's surprise, I guess, is a huge defensive presence. Still, despite his girth and importance to Houston's workings, I thought the Hawks, namely Elton Brand and Pero, did a relatively good job on him.
It was a rough offensive night for a whole bunch of guys and Teague is the headliner here. 2-12 from the field isn't gonna do it. Hey, we got the win though.