The Houston Rockets headed out east to start their three game road trip in Atlanta, Georgia where they faced the Atlanta Hawks. When you talk about games that the Rockets should win, you would look at tonight’s game and think it would be no contest. It was a sloppy game that did not go in favor of the Rockets.
In the first quarter, the Rockets were off to a fast start. They led 11-0 halfway through the quarter until the Hawks bench came alive and started out-hustling the Rockets. With all the defensive problems the Rockets have been dealing with, tonight, the horrid defense continued. Whenever they missed, the Hawks were already running down court and scoring in transition. The Rockets transition defense was almost non-existent. After a sloppy first quarter, Houston led 18-10.
In the second and third quarters, the Rockets looked completely lost. Before the game, Dwight Howard was supposed to have a big game. The Hawks had Pero Antic on Dwight which was clearly a mismatch but the Rockets just simply couldn’t hand Dwight the basketball. Turnovers were a huge part of the game. With everyone trying to pass the ball to Dwight down low, it only caused more trouble. The Rockets should have spread the floor more and pass the ball to Dwight high where he can catch it and go to work. The Hawks won the second quarter, 29-23, and the third quarter, 26-19.
As the fourth quarter came along, the Rockets were only down by 5, 65-60. The Rockets started to play defense, but they simply could not get the ball in the basket. James Harden and Aaron Brooks practically did all they could to try and give the Rockets the lead. Harden made 2 out of 3 free throws to give the Rockets their first lead of the quarter, 74-73, with 3:50 left in the quarter but that didn’t last long. Kyle Korver for the Hawks came up huge in the fourth making clutch threes and free throws. The Houston Rockets had a chance down 1 with 25 seconds left but Aaron Brooks threw the ball out of bounds which led to 2 free throws made by Korver. The score was 78-81 with 15.9 seconds left. Rockets had used their final timeout to draw a game-tying 3. Jeremy Lin hit a 2 with 5.9 seconds left. It was reviewed as Jeremy Lin had his foot on the line and the call stood as a 2. Rockets were now down 80-81. Kyle Korver was fouled again, hit both, and then the Rockets didn’t even get a shot off on time. The Hawks stole a game that the Rockets should have won.
Hopefully the Rockets will put this one behind them and focus on tomorrow night’s game where they face the Washington Wizards.