Hawks 121, Rockets 115

Hawks 121, Rockets 115

HOUSTON — Al Horford and Paul Millsap posted double-doubles and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from a 19-point deficit to spring past the Houston Rockets 121-115 on Tuesday night at Toyota Center.

Horford finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds while Millsap added 22 points and 14 boards plus a block of Rockets center Dwight Howard with the Hawks (21-13) clinging to a 117-115 lead with 11 seconds left.

Hawks forward Kent Bazemore added 26 points on five of nine 3-point shooting while guard Jeff Teague paired 22 points with eight assists to snap the Rockets’ seven-game home winning streak.

Houston (16-17) led 71-56 at the intermission but scored just one field goal over the last eight-plus minutes. Howard matched Horford with 30 points and added 16 rebounds while Rockets guard James Harden scored 26 points, grabbed 10 boards and dished out eight assists.

The Hawks, having failed to pull ahead in the third quarter, finally did so when Millsap converted a baseline drive with 5:10 left for a 104-103 lead. Atlanta then followed by intentionally fouling both Howard and forward Clint Capela (17 points, 10 rebounds), limiting the Rockets to a point per possession before Howard converted two free throws with 2:04 remaining for a 113-112 lead.

After going four-plus minutes without scoring and surrendering a 17-0 Rockets run in the process, the Hawks shot their way back into contention. Horford was the linchpin early in the second quarter, drilling a pair of 3s before Teague added a trey that cut the deficit to 12.

But even after the Rockets reclaimed control with a trio of 3s down the stretch of the second quarter, their 71 first-half points provided no guarantee. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, the most by an Atlanta opponent this season, the Rockets’ first-half scoring binge represented their season high, as did their 69.2 shooting percentage. By the 4:30 mark of the third quarter, what was a 19-point lead was gone.

Atlanta opened the third quarter with two 3-pointers from Horford and a 3-point play by Millsap. When Bazemore and Millsap nailed consecutive 3s the Hawks pulled even at 82-82 and Houston closed the period shooting seven-for-17 while carrying a 92-85 lead into the fourth.

NOTES: Rockets F Terrence Jones was sidelined with flulike symptoms, missing his first game since Nov. 7. Jones had averaged 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds over 25 games since returning from an eyelid laceration. … Hawks G Kyle Korver has struggled with his shot throughout the season, with the last three games offering another difficult stretch. After shooting better than 41.5 percent on 3-pointers in each of the previous six seasons and converting at 46.5 percent during that span, Korver is shooting 38.6 percent from behind the arc this season, including going two-for-17 on treys over three games entering Tuesday. … Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff expressed a need to get F Donatas Motiejunas more consistent minutes. After averaging 18.8 minutes and 9.7 points per game during a six-game stretch earlier this month, Motiejunas averaged just 6.8 minutes over the three games entering Tuesday.

 

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