This was Houston’s first win over Atlanta in their last eight tries. The last time the Rockets beat the Hawks was November 23, 2013. To put that in perspective, I was a high school sophomore. Now, I am a college sophomore. The leading scorer for that game? It was a tie between Rockets legends Aaron Brooks and Francisco Garcia, both with 21 each. The last time the Rockets won in Atlanta would take us back a year earlier in 2012 in James Harden’s second career game with the Rockets. Harden scored a then-career-high with 45 points and Omer Asik pulled in 19 rebounds without scoring a point.
Tonight, Harden may not have dropped 45, but 29 points and 11 assists ain’t too shabby for the Beard. Harden was poised tonight, only allowing two turnovers and he played a game that reminded us all why he is of MVP-caliber.
The next leading scorer might surprise you. Luc Mbah a Moute.
Mbah a Moute had his best scoring game as a Rocket, shooting 8 for 11 from the floor for 20 points. He also lead the team in minutes with 34. The Rockets were leading for 95 percent of the game, so the starters had the luxury of resting for most of the fourth quarter.
Eric Gordon also had himself a 20 point performance, and the remaining starters, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, and Clint Capela, also hit double figures in scoring as well. The team was up 69-51 at halftime and played a very smooth game. Clearly, the Hawks were outmatched, as they have found many times already in this young season. Tonight marked the eighth straight defeat for the rebuilding squad.
18 points from Kent Bazemore lead the team as he was one of six Hawks in double figures. One of the Hawks in double digits off the bench was former Rocket Isaiah Taylor, who arguably performed the best among the Hawks bench tonight with 12 points and a +8 in 24 minutes.
Houston cruised to a victory against a team they should have beaten. This game was no surprise and they got the job done. With the win, Houston is now second place in the West with a 7-3 record. As November comes along, the schedule begins to increase in difficulty, so it’s important that the Rockets get these easy wins while they can.
The next game for Houston will be an interesting test as they take on the best defense in the West in the Utah Jazz. Tipoff is Sunday at 6 CT.