These are not the Hawks of the past.
The Rockets seek to rebound from their latest loss Monday night when they try to win their 11th straight home matchup with the Southeast Division-leading Hawks.
Houston (24-19) won eight straight home games Dec. 9-Jan. 13, but has since dropped two of three at Toyota Center including a 104-97 loss to Chicago on Saturday.
Coming out flat following a 116-109 victory in San Antonio the previous night, Houston trailed the Bulls by 11 after the first quarter as it dropped the opener of a six-game homestand.
“As good as we felt (Friday), it’s just the opposite tonight,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman told the team’s official Web site. “We just have to regroup, get ourselves together, figure out why we weren’t ready today and get ready for Atlanta.”
Houston has won 16 of its last 17 home meetings with Atlanta, including 10 straight since a 93-87 loss Feb. 25, 1999, but it will face an Atlanta team that has an opportunity to win its first division title in 16 years and that defeated the Rockets 105-103 at home Nov. 20.
The Hawks (28-14), who have won two in a row and five of six overall, closed a 4-1 homestand with a 103-89 win over Charlotte on Friday. They now play four of their next five on the road, with the lone exception a home game Friday against Atlantic Division-leading Boston.
“Whenever you can try to take advantage of being home for a week or two, and win a majority of the games, then go out on the road… it’s always good,” Atlanta forward Josh Smith(notes), who had 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals, told the team’s official Web site.
Trevor Ariza(notes), Aaron Brooks(notes) and the rest of the Rockets’ backcourt will need to find a way to slow down Jamal Crawford(notes), who led the Hawks with 24 points Friday and ranks second in the league with 17.3 points per game off the bench. Crawford, who has scored 20 or more in four of his last five games, had 21 including four 3-pointers in the November victory over Houston.
Johnson leads Atlanta with 21.1 points per game, but is averaging 14.5 on 34.4 percent shooting in his last four visits to Houston.
Rockets forward Carl Landry(notes), who had a team-high 22 points in Saturday’s loss, ranks just behind Crawford in scoring off the bench with 16.4 per game. He had 18 points and eight rebounds in the Nov. 20 loss.
Brooks is averaging 23.4 points and shooting 45.3 percent from 3-point range in his last seven home games.