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News » Rockets-Hawks Preview 2009-01-03

Rockets-Hawks Preview 2009-01-03

Rockets-Hawks Preview 2009-01-03
The Atlanta Hawks are still figuring out how to win on the road. On Saturday, they return to a place where they know they can win.

Atlanta goes for its sixth straight win at Philips Arena on Saturday night against a Houston team that's dropped three in a row on the road.

The Hawks (21-11) return home following a 93-91 overtime loss to New Jersey on Friday night that snapped their six-game winning streak. Atlanta nearly won its third straight on the road, but let a 20-point halftime lead slip away as Vince Carter hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. A victory would have given the Hawks their first seven-game win streak since April 14-28, 1999. Instead, their road record fell to 7-9.

Atlanta, however, has won 14 of 16 at home this season. Since losing to Boston 88-85 on Dec. 17, the Hawks are undefeated at Philips Arena, averaging 107.4 points and shooting 49.3 percent from the field.

"It was good shot (by Carter), there was nothing you could do about that, it was almost halfcourt," said Mike Bibby, who hit four 3s and led Atlanta with 22 points.

Joe Johnson just missed his second triple-double of the season on Friday with 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. In Atlanta's 92-84 loss at Houston on Dec. 9, Johnson led the Hawks with 22 points. However, he's averaging just 13.7 points in 22 career games versus the Rockets.

Josh Smith is coming off a 20-point, six-rebound effort against New Jersey, which included a layup with 11 seconds left in overtime that gave Atlanta a 91-90 lead. He had 13 points and 11 rebounds against Houston in the teams' first meeting this season.

The Rockets (21-13) continue their five-game road trip following Friday's 94-73 loss to Toronto.

"I didn't like the way we played the whole game," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "It just wasn't there, we weren't in synch."

Von Wafer hit 7-of-9 shots and led Houston with 18 points off the bench, but the Rockets shot a season-low 34.1 percent from the field.

The Rockets hit 33.3 percent from the floor in their last game in Atlanta - a 83-75 victory on March 12.

Tracy McGrady had only four points, two rebounds and two assists on Friday.

"It's kind of hard to get in the groove when you're only touching the ball once every five minutes," he said.

With Houston playing five games in the next eight days, McGrady is expected to miss Saturday's contest to rest his sore left knee. He sat with the same injury in Houston's first meeting with Atlanta in December.

McGrady is averaging 29.2 points, 7.4 boards and 4.1 assists in his last 10 games in Atlanta.

Shane Battier will also be out with a sore left foot and will likely miss another five games.

Yao Ming, who had 14 points and eight rebounds against Toronto, will face the Hawks in Atlanta for the first time in four seasons. He missed last season's matchup with a stress fracture in his left foot, and was out with injuries to his toe and right knee in the previous two years. On Dec. 9, Yao had 24 points and a season-high 19 rebounds against the Hawks.

Houston has won three straight against Atlanta.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 3, 2009


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