Atlanta trailed 86-73 entering the fourth quarter. The Rockets extended the lead to 20 on a three-pointer by Eric Gordon with 8:27 remaining. The Hawks would take over from there outscoring Houston 36-11 with 23 coming from Hardaway. He scored 13 straight at one point including a three-point play with 2:25 remaining that gave Atlanta the lead for good. Trevor Ariza missed a game-tying attempt with 6.9 seconds remaining to deliver the Hawks a big win.
Atlanta struggled with turnovers and fouls throughout the first three quarters of the game. James Harden had a monster performance with 41 points, eight rebounds and eight assists but the Hawks were able to hold him in check in the fourth limiting him to just six points.
Clint Capela added 22 points but the rest of Houston’s supporting cast struggled. Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverley and Trevor Ariza combined to shoot 8 for 32 from the field including 6 of 25 from three-point range. Houston was just 13 of 51 from three-point range in the game with Ariza going 1 for 10.
Dwight Howard turned in a big performance in his return to Houston with 24 points and 23 rebounds. Paul Millsap added 16 while DeAndre Bembry tossed in 10.
Atlanta shot 52 percent for the game which helped offset 21 turnovers.
The Hawks will return to action on Saturday when they open a three-game homestand with a matchup against the Orlando Magic.