|4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CT22:30 , January 8, 2020
State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia Attendance: 16,514
Rockets seek to extend streak vs. Hawks
Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks
- Houston beat Atlanta, 158-111, when these teams met on November 30. It was the second-most points ever by a Rockets team in the regular season or postseason, trailing only the 159 points they scored in a win over the Wizards exactly one month prior on October 30.
- The Rockets lost three straight games from November 20-24, but have gone 13-5 since, the third-best record in the Western Conference over this span. Houston allowed an average of 121.3 points during that losing streak but has limited opponents to 112.7 points per game since.
- The Hawks have 29 losses in their first 37 games, tied for the second most through as many games in franchise history with the 1953-54 Milwaukee Hawks. A loss tonight in game 38 would be the second fastest a Hawks team has reached 30 losses in a season behind only the 2004-05 team that started 7-30.
- James Harden scored 60 points against the Hawks in November, one shy of his career high (two games with 61). Harden made eight three-pointers and 20 free throws in the game, his fourth career game with at least five threes and 20 freebies. No other player in NBA history has had multiple such games, and there have been a total of four such games by players other than James Harden.
- Trae Young is averaging 32.7 points in three January games after missing Atlanta's final two games in December. Young is shooting 43.8 percent (14-of-32) from three so far this month and is shooting 37.5 percent on the season after posting a 32.4 percentage in 2018-19.
- Houston averages 26.7 free throws, most in the NBA this season, while Atlanta's opponents average 26.0, fourth most. Free throws account for 27.7 percent of James Harden's points but just 17.4 percent of Houston's overall points.
- James' jumper puts Lakers over Celtics
- Lakers sign Markieff Morris, cut Cousins
- Grizzlies F Jackson out at least 2 weeks
- Bulls best Wizards despite 53 from Beal
- Raptors post largest win in team history
The Houston Rockets begin their two-game road trip on Wednesday at Atlanta, having won the past five meetings against the Hawks.
That's one shy of matching the franchise's longest winning streak against Atlanta. Houston has won two straight games in Atlanta after losing six of the previous eight there.
The Rockets clobbered the young Hawks 158-111 on Nov. 30 in Houston, a game best-remembered by James Harden's 60-point effort. Harden didn't even play in the fourth quarter and still wound up with the fourth 60-point game of his career. Houston shot 58.4 percent and hit 25 3-pointers that night.
That game was forgettable for Atlanta. It was the second night of a back-to-back and came on the heels of an overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers. The 158 points allowed are the most by the club all season. The lopsided decision also was the final setback in a 10-game losing streak, after which the team recovered to win two of its next three.
Atlanta has won two of four since enduring a second 10-game losing streak. The Hawks dropped a 123-115 decision to the Denver Nuggets on Monday, a game that was within two points as late as 4:25 left.
The Hawks continue to be led by guard Trae Young, who totaled 29 points and 12 assists against Denver to garner his 11th double-double of the season. Young scored 37 against the Rockets in that lopsided loss in November.
Atlanta has also let Kevin Huerter's role continue to grow. The second-year guard, who has dealt with a left rotator cuff strain and ongoing back soreness, scored 22 on Monday. He scored a career-high 26 points in the previous game against Indiana and is averaging 21 over the last four games.
The Rockets have not played since Jan. 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Harden had a triple-double in the 118-108 win over the Sixers, totaling 44 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his first triple-double of the season and the 43rd of his career -- tied for eighth all-time.
"He just understands the game, sees it and knows where he wants them," Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They stay out, he throws a lob. They come in, he throws that. He's got that little runner, his 3s are all over the place. I mean, he's really good. He's one of the best ever."
Harden is averaging 25.9 points in 18 career games against Atlanta. Overall this season. Harden is averaging 38.4 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds. He has shot 50 percent or better in a career-high seven straight games.
Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said, "We try to do what we have to do against James, which is throw a lot of bodies at him. Try and put him under duress."
Harden is so dominant that the contributions of Clint Capela are sometimes overlooked. Capela fell a point shy of his career high against the 76ers, scoring a season-best 30 points and adding 14 rebounds. He averages 14.5 points and 14.2 rebounds.
The Rockets will play without Russell Westbrook, who will take a scheduled off day. This will be the fifth game that the veteran guard has taken off for rest.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 7, 2020