Rockets update Tuesday: Rockets 92, Hawks 84.
Friday: at Golden State, 9:30 p.m.
TV/radio: FSH, ESPN; 610 AM and 850 AM (Spanish).
With time running out on the shot clock and trapped in the corner, Ron Artest was all but falling out of bounds.
No sweat. He fired away as if the shot was as easy and certain as tossing a ball of wadded paper into the trash can.
He swished his 3-pointer as the shot-clock buzzer sounded, then bounced his way back up the court with arms raised. After a stretch in which the Rockets could hit nothing, there was no shot they could miss, roaring back with a 22-2 run to a fourth-quarter blitz of the Atlanta Hawks in a 92-84 victory on Tuesday night that was their 10th straight over the Hawks in Houston.
"You got to have fun every now and then," Artest said. "The fans are having fun. Sometimes you have to have fun. You hit a big shot, you got to enjoy yourself out there."
Artest and the Rockets had earned his giddy glide.
Still wounded from their blowout loss to Memphis the night before, the Rockets in many ways reversed the patterns of that 109-97 defeat.
"Actually, that's a good thing when you have a tough loss to come back strong, because we are mad," Yao Ming said of the Rockets' tendency all season to answer their worst defeats with some of their best wins. "We feel bad about those losses. We cannot forgive ourselves to play a game like (Monday) night. It's really tough. You want somebody to pay for it, your next opponent."
Reverse of Memphis
Behind 10-0 in Memphis on Monday, the Rockets scored the first 13 points Tuesday. Trailing by nine points at halftime against the Grizzlies, they led the Hawks by eight.
A night after they came back in the third quarter, the Rockets saw the Hawks rally in the third quarter Tuesday. And after they wasted that comeback in Memphis when the Grizzlies blew the game open down the stretch, the Rockets answered the Hawks' rally by charging back from an eight-point deficit to a 12-point lead.
"I'm proud of our guys," Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "We came out with a lot more energy than (Monday) night. (It) was a bad one for us. We came out ready to play. It took them awhile to get into the game.
"We're down eight in our building. Second night of a back-to-back, a lot of teams would have laid down and said, ?Well, we played last night,' and used that as an excuse. It was a character win. And if you can get a few character wins during the year, at the end of the season it really makes a difference."
Yao responded to his four-rebound night against Memphis with a season-high 19 and added 24 points.
Artest, who did not play in Memphis because of his sore right ankle, scored 19 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists.
The Hawks completed their rally from a 16-point first-half deficit to take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter. They pushed the lead to 76-68, and Rockets coach Rick Adelman called a timeout to return Yao, Artest and Rafer Alston to the floor ahead of schedule.
"It was now-or-never," Adelman said. "We had to do something right then."
In the next 6? minutes, the Rockets made nine of 11 shots, with Yao getting deeper position and scoring 10 points in the 22-2 run. On the other end, Artest switched to Joe Johnson, who had scored seven points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and held him without a field goal until the Rockets opened a 90-78 lead heading into the final 90 seconds.
"It was an important game because we had a miserable night (Monday)," Adelman said. "It was a big win for us. The guys really stayed with it. In the fourth quarter when we got down, they responded big time."