Atlanta (4-17) at Houston (9-12)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Wed Dec 15, 2004
  • TV: WPXA, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Rockets hope to rebound from their worst loss of the season when they host the Atlanta Hawks at the Toyota Center.

Houston’s three-game winning streak was snapped with an embarrassing 102-78 defeat to Dallas on Saturday night. While the season-high margin of defeat was glaring, the lack of production from the power forward spot continued to limit the Rockets’ offense.

Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were held to 15 and 13 points, respectively, but the tandem of Maurice Taylor and Juwan Howard could not compensate.

Both Taylor and Howard are averaging just over seven points per game, and aren’t making up for their lack of offense with rebounds.

Howard, who averaged 7.4 rebounds over his previous 10 seasons, is pulling down just 3.8 boards per game, while Taylor is averaging the same total after averaging 5.1 rebounds last season.

Ultimately, however, Houston’s success will depend on the play of McGrady and Yao.

“We can improve.” McGrady said. “We definitely have the guys and the talent to do it. We just have to go out and prove it.”

The Hawks, who have dropped six straight in Houston, are coming off a 108-97 loss to Indiana on Tuesday. Atlanta squandered a 12-point lead and was held to 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.

“We blew an opportunity at home against a team we should have beaten,” said forward Antoine Walker, who scored 17 points.

Hawks coach Mike Woodson said his team has not yet learned how to close out a win.

“As soon as we got the lead, we started to lose our momentum,” he said. “We just went flat. I have to take some of the blame for this one because I thought I played Al (Harrington) and Antoine entirely too many minutes. … We just didn’t have anything left in our tank to finish the game, and that’s kind of disheartening, so I have to take the heat for this one.”

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