Horford's 22 points lead hot Hawks past Rockets, 109-97
ATLANTA – Al Horford scored 22 points and the streaking Atlanta Hawks continued to feast on Western Conference teams by beating Michael Beasley and the Houston Rockets 109-97 on Saturday night.
The Hawks have won five straight and eight of nine. They've also won six straight against Western Conference teams.
Beasley led Houston with a season-high 30 points, including 12 of the team's 14 fourth-quarter points. James Harden had 25 and Dwight Howard had eight points and 17 rebounds.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points off Atlanta's bench, his second straight game with at least 20 points. He made five of seven 3-pointers.
The second half stayed close until the Hawks pulled away in the final three minutes.
A 3-pointer by Horford gave Atlanta a 100-95 lead. Following a turnover by Beasley, Thabo Sefolosha's 3-pointer stretched the lead to eight points. Horford's jam, and a free throw by Sefolosha, gave Atlanta a 106-95 advantage.
The Hawks dominated the opening period, leading 30-16, before Harden sparked a quick turnaround in the second period. Harden, who had only two points in the opening period, had 14 points in the second and the Rockets outscored the Hawks 42-22 for a 58-52 halftime lead.
Harden scored nine straight points to cap a 13-0 run for the Rockets during the dominant quarter.
Hardaway, who scored a season-high 21 points in his first start of the season in Atlanta's 116-98 win over Denver on Thursday night, was back in a reserve role as Kent Bazemore returned to the starting lineup.
Howard grinned after he made two straight free throws — each on bank shots — late in the second period.
Rockets: After having a combined 17 turnovers in the last two games, Harden had only three giveaways. ... The 42 points in the second quarter matched Houston's season high for any period. ... F Sam Dekker missed his fourth straight game with lower back soreness.
Hawks: Paul Millsap had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Dennis Schroder had 14 points. ... Bazemore had four points after missing one game with a right knee bone bruise. ... The Hawks committed nine turnovers in the second period.
Rockets: At Oklahoma City on Tuesday
Hawks: Host Washington on Monday