Harden lifts Rockets past Hawks

By
Updated: December 31, 2012

James Harden had 28 points and five assists as the Houston Rockets posted a 123-104 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

Carlos Delfino had a season-high 22 points along with eight assists while
Jeremy Lin gave 16 points and eight helpers for the Rockets, who snapped a
two-game slide.

“He played really well for us tonight, and we needed him to,” Rockets coach
Kevin McHale said. “He came in, moved the ball and made shots. He really
played well.”

Louis Williams scored 21 points while Al Horford gave 18 points and 13
rebounds for the Hawks, who had a four-game winning streak stopped.

Trailing by a point entering the second quarter, the Rockets exploded in the
frame to take command.

Omer Asik hit a jumper to give the team a lead and that started an 18-2 run
that saw Delfino hit two 3-pointers and Toney Douglas cap the run with a 3-
ball for a 46-31 lead with 6 1/2 minutes to play in the frame.

Houston added another 8-0 run later in the period and closed the half with the
final four points for a 64-46 lead at the break.

Atlanta got consecutive 3-pointers to start the third and later cut its
deficit to eight points when Horford put in a bucket for a 72-64 game with 6
1/2 minutes remaining.

It was still an 8-point game later in the third after Williams’ shot made it
an 81-73 contest, but Houston scored the next nine points and took a 90-75
lead into the fourth.

Atlanta again surged to start the fourth with three straight baskets, but
Delfino followed with a 3-ball and Lin hit two free throws to push it back to
double-digits.

The Hawks hung tight and a 9-0 run capped on a John Jenkins 3-pointer cut the
deficit to 102-97 with just over five minutes remaining, but Delfino hit his
sixth 3-pointer of the game, followed that with a layup and Harden’s capped
the surge with a 3-point play for a 110-97 lead with four minutes remaining.

Atlanta got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

It was a tight first quarter as neither team was able to build more than a 5-
point lead and the Hawks took a 27-26 lead into the final frame.

Game Notes

Houston hosts New Orleans on Wednesday … Atlanta plays in New Orleans on
Tuesday … The Rockets have won five straight over the Hawks … Houston shot
53.6 percent and had 30 assists on 45 baskets … Atlanta made 47.8 percent of
its shots … Jenkins finished with a career-high 15 points.