--C Al Horford made his way back into the Hawks' lineup after missing Saturday's loss in Dallas with a sprained right ankle.It was the 14th game this season the Hawks have played without Horford or Josh Smith, the only two starters on the team to have missed games this season with injuries. Marvin Williams missed the Hawks' season opener serving a suspension.
Without Horford or Smith, or both as was the case during a loss to Indiana, the Hawks are a totally different team, said coach Mike Woodson. And that's especially true on the defensive end.
"We don't have an inside presence when both of those guys are out," Woodson said. "Al Horford anchors our defense on the backside and Josh the same thing. You miss him from a shot blocking and rebounding standpoint. Our rebounding and shot blocking was suspect without him. We need a total package for us to be really competitive."
--Coach Mike Woodson watched the Rockets struggle in a loss in Memphis Monday but knew not to put too much stock in what he saw.
The Rockets played without Tracy McGrady, Ron Artest and Shane Battier against the Grizzlies, three of their top five players.
Both Artest and Battier returned for Tuesday's game, giving the Rockets a totally different look alongside All-Star center Yao Ming.
"They're still missing T-Mac," Hawks swingman Mo Evans said. "But they're still a load without him with all the guys they have."
--The official tip for Tuesday's game was 8:30, but the Hawks didn't show up for a good 15 minutes after that.
They missed their first 12 shots and were down 13-0 before most of the fans at Toyota Center had made it to their seats. It was the Hawks' worst first-quarter start of the season and worst since a 13-point first quarter start against Cleveland on Jan. 9, 2008, a game the Hawks went on to win 90-81.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We should have closed them out in the fourth quarter and we didn't get the job done. When Yao came (back) in, we didn't have an answer. Then the game turned real ugly." -- Hawks captain Joe Johnson on their inability to close out the Rockets and Yao Ming in the fourth quarter