Houston (28-21) at Atlanta (17-34)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 52° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Sat Feb 7, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After winning back-to-back games for the first time this season, the Atlanta Hawks hope to make it three in a row as they host the Houston Rockets.

“It took longer than it probably should have,” said Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who led the Hawks with 23 points in Friday night’s 100-96 victory over the Boston Celtics. “We hurt ourselves with turnovers but it was a win and a win on the road, so we’ll take it.”

The Hawks improved to just 1-15 after wins this season, but are still trying to make a run at the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Despite all their struggles, the Hawks are just five games out with 31 games remaining.

“Believe it or not, we’re playing well,” Atlanta coach Terry Stotts. “We’re playing with confidence. We’re playing aggressive defense. We’ll let that take care of itself. With however many games we’ve got left, a lot of things can happen.”

Houston won its second straight on Friday night as Jim Jackson’s 22-foot jumper at the buzzer gave the Rockets an 82-80 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

“The play was for Cuttino Mobley. We gave the ball to him and let him either create a shot or find someone open,” Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “It was an unselfish play by Cuttino and Jimmy knocked down a big shot.”

Yao Ming led Houston with 22 points, while Steve Francis added 11 points and six assists.

Francis, the team’s leading scorer, has proven a more effective player when he spreads the ball around. Houston is 20-9 this season when he has more than five assists and 8-11 when he has five or fewer.

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