Atlanta Hawks vs Houston Rockets – Full Game Highlights, February 2, 2017, 2016-17 NBA Season.
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Dwight Howard in particular will savor the win, since it was his first game back at the Toyota Center. The Hawks and Rockets played each other earlier in the year, with Atlanta earning a 112-97 victory on Nov. 5.
“There was never any love lost for this city,” Howard said of his return before the game, per ESPN.com’s Calvin Watkins. “It’s just the business of basketball. I’m in a great place; this team is in a great place, but if I do get a couple of boos, I will respect it and I understand it and you got to move forward.”
According to the Houston Chronicle‘s Jonathan Feigen, the reaction to Howard’s pregame introduction was somewhat muted, with many fans still outside the arena as a result of Super Bowl LI-related traffic congestion.
Individually, Howard had a big night, scoring 24 points and grabbing 23 rebounds. His pair of dunks early in the first quarter set the tone.
The night belonged to Tim Hardaway Jr., though. Twenty-three of Hardaway’s 33 points came in the fourth quarter as he was almost single-handedly responsible for Atlanta’s comeback. His thunderous right-handed jam with 41.8 seconds remaining put the stamp on Atlanta’s win:
The Starters’ Tas Melas thought the situation was ripe for a pun:
Houston wasted a 41-point night from James Harden, who also finished with eight rebounds and eight assists.
The Rockets were lucky to lead by three points, 50-47, at the half. Harden shot 3-of-11 through the first two quarters, while Houston connected on three of its 26 three-point attempts as a team.
Nobody struggled more than Eric Gordon, who missed his first seven attempts from deep, the timing of which was ironic, according to Watkins on Twitter:
Harden took over to start the third quarter, scoring the Rockets’ first 12 points of the second half. The NBA shared a replay of the five-time All-Star knocking down a three-pointer to put Houston up 54-49 at the 11:12 mark of the third quarter: