--The Hawks have been giving up three-point shots at an alarming rate. In three of their five games before facing Houston, opponents made at least 15.Here's how the opposition had fared over the previous five games: Orlando (15 of 28), Miami (six of 17), Charlotte (nine of 15) New Orleans (15 of 29) and Golden State (17 of 32). Orlando, New Orleans and Golden State had success penetrating the paint and then passing the ball out to their shooters.
"Up until a month ago, we were in the top seven or eight in defending the three," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Then the bottom just fell out all of sudden."
In the previous meeting with Houston on Feb. 9, the Rockets made six of 19 three-pointers in a 108-89 victory.
"The big thing we need to do is make sure that if there is a three-point shooter, that we try to run him off the three-point line," Josh Childress said. "We have to make a concerted effort to run them off the line."
The three-pointer defense improved Wednesday, when the Rockets went 6-for-29 from three-point range in their 83-75 victory at Philips Arena.
--C Dikembe Mutombo has found the fountain of youth since Houston's starting C Yao Ming went down with a season-ending injury. The 41-year-old former Hawk is swatting shots like he did in his prime. He blocked five shots in his previous outing against New Jersey.
"It's impressive," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "What he is doing right now is incredible. He's having a great impact for their team."
The Hawks played a highlight tribute to Mutombo, who played for the franchise for five seasons from 1996 to 2001, during a first-quarter timeout.
--G Acie Law IV (sprained right wrist) returned to action against the Rockets. He hadn't played since Feb. 20 versus Sacramento.
--F Josh Smith had a career-high 18 rebounds at the end of the third quarter. He finished with 23.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You can't have bad games when you're in a dogfight for the playoffs. You just can't do it." -- Hawks TV analyst Steve Smith, forecasting the Hawks' fate before their loss to the Rockets.