Rockets 113, Hawks 84

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Buoyed by the bench combination of swingman Francisco Garcia and guard Aaron Brooks, the Houston Rockets beat the Atlanta Hawks 113-84 Wednesday night at Toyota Center.
The Rockets (11-5) completed their fourth consecutive home game in which they never trailed as Garcia scored a season-high 21 points while Brooks also scored 21.
Houston last trailed at Toyota Center at the 3:59 mark of the first overtime period against the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 11, a game it ultimately won 110-104 in double OT.
On Wednesday, Houston played its third consecutive game without guard James Harden and lost its top reserve, guard Jeremy Lin, early in the game to a right knee contusion.
The Rockets' bench scored 67 points.
The frontcourt tandem of Paul Millsap and Al Horford totaled 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Hawks (8-8), whose backcourt was depleted by injuries to Kyle Korver and Shelvin Mack.
Atlanta, in the midst of four games in five nights, slipped into a double-digit deficit in the first quarter and trailed throughout.
Rockets forward Terrence Jones continued his exceptional play since joining the starting lineup, burning the Hawks twice on early perimeter pump fakes that resulted in a thunderous baseline dunk and an unimpeded driving layup.
When the Hawks remained grounded after Jones stood stationary behind the arc, he buried a 3 that pushed the lead to 14-6, a basket that served as the midpoint of an 11-0 run.
By the close of the first period Jones and Chandler Parsons had combined for 16 points as Houston carried a 30-19 lead into the second. Atlanta guard Cartier Martin, who picked up two fouls in the opening 36 seconds of the game, singlehandedly staved off a rout by nailing four 3s in the period.
But after the Hawks closed to within 43-40 with 4:30 left in the half, Parsons and Jones combined to score the ensuing 10 points as Houston re-established its double-digit lead. The highlight of that spurt was Jones' block on defense and his alley-oop dunk seconds later, with Parsons recording the assist.
The Rockets' forward tandem scored 26 first-half points on 11-for-15 shooting, including 4-for-6 on 3s.
NOTES: With Hawks G/F Kyle Korver sidelined indefinitely due to a rib contusion suffered Tuesday night against Orlando, F Cartier Martin filled the void in the starting lineup. Martin, a Houston native, was a standout at Nimitz High School. ... The Hawks' backcourt was further depleted with the absence of Shelvin Mack (left ankle sprain) and Lou Williams, who is not participating in back-to-back games as he returns from a torn right ACL. Rookie G Dennis Schroder joined the rotation. ... The Rockets relied on their superior depth of late, with C Omer Asik providing a boost against the Grizzlies in Memphis after G Aaron Brooks carried the load against the Minnesota Timberwolves. G Jeremy Lin and F Omri Casspi remained consistent threats. "They've all really pitched in," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "We're going to need them all year long."

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