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Hawks vs Rockets preview: Atlanta looks to pick up the pieces in Houston

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The Atlanta Hawks face another tall task Thursday night against James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks look to pick up the pieces once again Thursday night when they finish off a road back-to-back against the Houston Rockets. Things got off on a sour note for Atlanta who suffered a blowout loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

The Hawks have alternated wins and losses going 6-5 over their last 11 games. Wednesday’s loss dropped them behind the Washington Wizards and into fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Rockets have been the surprise team in the NBA for most of the season but have been on a tough stretch of late going 5-5 over their last 10. They enter Thursday’s game in third place in the Western Conference standings with a 36-16 record. Houston knocked off Sacramento Tuesday 105-83.

The Rockets are second in the league in scoring averaging 114.1 points per game. James Harden has blossomed into a bonafide MVP candidate under new head coach Mike D’Antoni.

It looks like Atlanta might have their hands full given their recent defensive struggles. The Hawks are allowing more than 119 points per game over their last five including a four-overtime win over the Knicks. Subtract that game from the mix and they are still allowing over 114 per contest.

To make matters worse, Thabo Sefolosha is listed as questionable after missing the last two games with a groin injury. The Hawks could certainly use him as they try to slow down Harden who is averaging over 28 points per game this season.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Thursday, February 2, 8 p.m. ET

Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

TV: TNT

Radio: 92.9 The Game