NBA Game Summary - Houston at Atlanta
(Tuesday, November 16th)
Final Score: Atlanta 88, Houston 84
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Antoine Walker amassed 20 points and 10 rebounds and Atlanta scored 15 consecutive points late in the fourth quarter to pull out an 88-84 victory over Houston at Philips Arena.
Predrag Drobnjak chipped in 15 points off the bench and Al Harrington finished 14 as the Hawks rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit.
Yao Ming made good on 13-of-15 shot attempts in a 27-point, 11-rebound performance for the Rockets, who have lost three of four. Tracy McGrady added 21 points, but the duo combined for just a single bucket during a final period in which Houston was outscored 26-15.
"We just melted down," said Houston head coach Jeff Van Gundy. "We couldn't get any stops in the second half. We have to make some adjustments so we can get it done defensively."
The Atlanta bench also received a lift from a pair of rookies as the Hawks won for the second time in three contests following an 0-4 start. Josh Childress scored a season-best 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds, while Royal Ivey contributed 10 points and came up with a key steal and layup which gave the Hawks a 83-82 edge with 2:02 left to play.
"(Ivey's) earning his minutes," said Hawks head coach Mike Woodson. "If he plays like that, he's going to get more and more minutes. I thought (Childress) gave us some positive energy. He was tremendous tonight as well."
Jim Jackson, who netted nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, drained a jumper with 6:11 remaining to put the Rockets ahead 82-71. However, Houston went on to miss their next nine shots as Atlanta crawled back in it.
Walker's layup with just under four minutes left got the Hawks to within 82-79 and Ivey sank two free throws with 2:16 to play for a one-point game. The rookie guard then pick-pocketed Charlie Ward on the ensuing possession and laid the ball in for Atlanta's first lead of the evening.
Walker put back his own miss with 1:23 left for a three-point advantage and Jackson's three-point attempt for the tie rimmed out with 30 seconds to go. Ivey then hit one of two foul shots with 22 seconds on the clock to make the score 86-82, but the Rockets countered four ticks later on a short hook shot by Yao. However, Jon Barry sealed the win by making both of his attempts from the charity stripe with 16 seconds left.
"We played better defensively, especially in the second half," said Walker. "If we can hold teams in the 80's, we have a shot at winning."
The Rockets opened the game with a 9-2 run and opened up a 17-9 advantage on a Yao jumper with 4:07 left in the first quarter. The 7'6" center, who made his first eight attempts from the floor, poured in 12 points during the first 12 minutes as Houston ended the period with a 23-17 cushion.
Atlanta began to close ground in the second quarter and cut its deficit to a single point when two Kevin Willis free throws with 5:11 left before intermission made the score 34-33. However, Houston closed out the half with an 11-4 spurt, highlighted by a three-point play by Yao at the 3:25 mark, to go ahead 45-37 at the break.
The Rockets took their biggest lead on a McGrady jumper with seven minutes left in the third quarter which made it 57-43. However, the All-Star guard made just one field goal the rest of the way. Yao, who had 17 points at halftime, failed to score from the 3:30 mark of the third until the game's final seconds.
The Hawks had lost their first two contests at Philips Arena this year...Houston has now lost seven of its last nine games in Atlanta but have won seven of the last 10 meetings between the clubs overall...Childress' previous best scoring total was 10, set in Atlanta' season-opening loss at Phoenix November 3.
11/17 00:35:29 ET