Posted December 30, 2012 on
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If Josh Smith misses another game, the Atlanta Hawks will still have plenty of confidence in their offense as they open their trip.
That doesn't bode well for a Houston Rockets team giving up points - and giving the ball away - at an alarming rate.
Going for just its third win in Houston in 21 years, Atlanta will try to extend its winning streak to five on Monday night when these teams close out 2012 and their season series.
Without Smith - the team's leading scorer at 16.6 points per game - who aggravated a hip flexor in Friday's 102-94 victory at Cleveland, and Devin Harris (sore left foot) and Anthony Morrow (strained right hip), the short-handed Hawks (19-9) defeated Indiana 109-100 on Saturday.
"Guys scored some key points," said center Al Horford, who finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists despite playing with a right hip contusion. "We got stops when we needed to. That was a game where we got better.''
The Hawks would obviously prefer to have Smith back as they open their three-game stretch outside Atlanta, but Zaza Pachulia has been more than a capable backup, averaging 8.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in seven starts this season after scoring 17 with a season high-tying 14 boards on Saturday.
"Zaza is going to do whatever it takes to be ready, whether he starts or whether he comes in off the bench," coach Larry Drew told the Hawks' official website.
First-year Hawks guard Lou Williams - last year's runner-up to Houston's James Harden for Sixth Man of the Year honors - is proving to be an effective starter. Since Drew inserted Williams into the starting shooting guard spot four games ago, he is averaging 17.8 points and 6.5 assists after scoring 21 with a career-best 12 assists on Saturday.
Atlanta is scoring 107.3 points per game on 49.8 percent field-goal shooting during its surge.
While the Hawks are going for their first five-game win streak since a season-best six-game stretch spanning Nov. 16-28, the Rockets (16-14) are in bounce-back mode after a pair of setbacks.
Coming off a 122-116 loss at San Antonio on Friday that ended its season-best five-game winning streak, Houston suffered its most lopsided home loss in three seasons on Saturday, 124-94 to Oklahoma City.
It's the first time the Rockets have surrendered 120 in back-to-back games since a three-game stretch from April 7-11, 1995.
"We're going to go through tough times like this," forward Chandler Parsons told the Rockets' official website. "We're going to go through great stretches like we just went through but we're going to learn and get better together."
The Rockets have to get better with the basketball after committing a season-high 24 turnovers in each of the last two games. Harden and Jeremy Lin each have a team-high nine during that stretch.
Harden, though, has reached the 20-point plateau in a career-best 12 consecutive games. The last Rocket to have a stretch that long was Yao Ming, who reached 20 in 14 straight from Feb. 22-March 20, 2006.
Harden netted a career-high 45 points as the visiting Rockets won their fourth in this row series on Nov. 2, 109-102.
Houston has won two straight at home over Atlanta after posting a 95-84 victory last New Year's Eve.
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Rockets rookie Royce White, who has struggled with mental health issues during his rookie season, is refusing to play in the D-League.
Hawks coach Larry Drew said leading scorer Josh Smith has a strained right hip flexor and will not play against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
Smith was injured on Friday in the Hawks' 102-94 victory at Cleveland. He is averaging 16.6 points. Smith's 8.2 rebounding average is second on the team behind center Al Horford.
Atlanta was without guards Devin Harris, who...
There have been reams and reams of words flying off the fingers of Royce White the last two months, but at this point the only thing that seems clear is that the Houston Rockets rookie forward remains unwilling to play for the team.
White on Sunday refused an assignment to the Rockets NBA Developmental League affiliate according to the Houston Chronicle, which also obtained a 463...
I owe you zero cents!
According to TMZ Sports the Atlanta Hawks star has reportedly dodged a $190,000 bill from his ex-agent for almost a year, but now a judge has ordered him to pay the bill.
According to legal docs, Mark Barelstein claims he repped DeShawn since 2006 and brokered some massive deals for the NBA star — specifically for the Washington Wizards in 2007 ...
Al Horford believes the Atlanta Hawks are starting to tap into their potential.
Even with Josh Smith injured and unable to play, the Hawks still got some important baskets, rebounds and defensive stops from role players in a 109-100 over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
''I think it showed growth from our team being in a position where they made a run at us and we...
The Houston Rockets have assigned Royce White to their Developmental League team for the second time, and White reportedly has refused to go for the second time. White had been away from the team for six weeks because he and the Rockets could not agree on a plan to deal with his anxiety disorder. But White recently began working out with the team again and on Saturday was assigned...
Mark EvansThe situation between the Houston Rockets and first round draft pick Royce White has been a mess all season. White has been away from the team for most of the season and has yet to appear in a game. Recently, head coach Kevin McHale said he didn’t even know exactly what was going on with White.
It looks like there might finally be some sort of progress, as the Houston...
HOUSTON - Carlos Delfino's vital role as a stabilizing force continues to pay dividends. The combination of a healthy Delfino plus superior ball-handling provided the Houston Rockets the foundation necessary to produce a 123-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at Toyota Center. Delfino missed losses to the Spurs and Thunder with food poisoning. He returned with...
White was sent to the Rockets' D-League affiliate on Saturday, but he released a statement Sunday refusing to accept the assignment.
By JOAN NIESEN
MINNEAPOLIS The Timberwolves announced Monday that they signed forward Lazar Hayward to fill the open roster spot vacated when the team waived Josh Howard on Dec. 20.
Hayward will give the team more flexibility at small forward, where it is sorely lacking after Howard's ACL tear and Chase Budinger's meniscus tear.
Hayward was the 30th...
HOUSTON -- With their top two scorers sufficiently equipped to thrive at an accelerated pace, the Oklahoma City Thunder blitzed the game-weary Houston Rockets 124-94 on Saturday night at Toyota Center. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook posted 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while forward Kevin Durant added 26 points despite a 1-for-8 shooting start to pace Oklahoma City...