The Atlanta Hawks beat the Houston Rockets in a stirring comeback win on Thursday night. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dwight Howard led the Hawks’ come from behind victory with the final score at 113-108 for Atlanta.
Howard had a big double-double of 24 points and 23 rebounds against one of his former teams. Meanwhile, Hardaway exploded for 33 points, his highest scoring output this season and his career.
The 24-year-old guard hit 4-of-9 three-pointers to help the Hawks negate James Harden’s 41-point performance. Harden, one of the MVP candidates this season, also finished with 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals.
Nothing personal for Dwight Howard vs. former team
Howard said it was nothing personal and that he did not think his performance was a “revenge game” against his former team. The Hawks big man also shot 11-of-13 field goals and added two blocks against the Rockets.
“I didn’t really think about it like that. It wasn’t like, `Aww, we’ve got to beat Houston because it’s my first time back.’ I just knew we needed the win,” Howard said postgame via ESPN. Howard played for the Houston Rockets from 2013 to 2016.
The Atlanta Hawks were down 20 in the third quarter and still trailed by double-digits before the final quarter. But, the Hawks outscored the Rockets, 40-22 in the fourth quarter and netted the comeback win.
Paul Millsap added 16 points for the Hawks. DeAndre Bembry (10 points) and Mike Muscala (9 points and 8 rebounds) also played well off the bench. Atlanta improved to 15-11 on the road this season but they are just 3-3 in their last six games. Bembry’s defense on Harden in the fourth quarter was also lauded by his teammates.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer was happy with his team’s effort. He credited the team’s role players for stepping up to the challenge.
“I think it speaks to the character of the team to keep fighting until you find the right group that gave us the chance to win. That group found a way without two of our best players and that was special,” the Hawks head coach added.
The Houston Rockets continue their inconsistent stretch since January. Houston is just 3-5 in their last eight games and are starting to drop in the West’s team standings. They are 36-17 overall and third place in the conference.
Atlanta Hawks vs Houston Rockets – Full Game Highlights
Video courtesy: YouTube.com/Ximo Pierto Final
Photo Courtesy: El Hormiguero/Flickr