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Rockets vs. Hawks game thread: The gauntlet continues

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The Rockets are in the second game of a brutal stretch of opponents

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

ANNOUNCEMENT: Regularly Scheduled Gamethread Service Resumes December 20th, 2014 for ALL PASSENGERS -

Atlanta to Houston.

I don't think the Atlanta Hawks' 18-7 record is nearly as impressive as the Rockets' 19-6 mark, but they're a very good team that needs to be respected.

As crazy as it sounds, the Hawks might be as easy as the schedule gets until basically the New Year. After losing to the Pellies on Thursday, the Rockets face the Hawks tonight, the Blazers on Monday, and then the Grizzlies, Spurs and Wizards in a span of four days before the woebegone Hornets on Dec. 31.

That's an awful stretch, and not exactly ideal when you're integrating new rotation pieces. Since the Nuggets aren't very good, I'm counting Thursday night's Pelicans game as the beginning of this stretch of tough opponents. So they're 0-1 in a six-game stretch.

I think best-case scenario for the Rockets is finishing 4-2. They can obviously beat any of these teams, but asking them to run the table in the next five games is a little much. If the Rockets come out of this stretch 24-6, it'll be time to say the Rockets are the best team of the year in the early going.

Discuss below.