Harden, Rockets Scorch Hawks in First Half of 119-104 Win

By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — James Harden scored 21 of his 29 points in Houston’s high-scoring first half, and the Rockets handed the Atlanta Hawks their eighth straight loss with a 119-104 victory on Friday night.

Eric Gordon and Luc Mbah a Moute each scored 20 points for Houston, which improved to 6-1 on the road. The Southwest Division-leading Rockets (7-3) closed a stretch where they played five of six games away from Houston.

Kent Bazemore scored 18 points for the Hawks (1-8), who have not won since their season-opening victory at Dallas.

Houston led 69-51 at halftime with its highest-scoring half of the season. The Rockets went 11 for 22 from 3-point range in the first half and 16 for 47 from beyond the arc for the game.

Harden closed the high-scoring first half with three free throws. The Rockets played reserves for most of the final period.

Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince each had 16 points for Atlanta. Luke Babbitt scored 12 points on four 3-pointers, and rookie John Collins had eight points and 13 rebounds.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was called for a technical foul in the second period while protesting what he thought should have been a foul called against Houston.

TIP-INS
Rockets: It was Houston’s first win over Atlanta since Nov. 27, 2013, snapping a streak of seven straight losses in the series. … Harden had 11 assists for his fourth double-double of the season. … Clint Capela, who had 12 points, answered a 10-0 run by Atlanta in the second period with three straight jams. The center’s third dunk, a two-hander, led to an Atlanta timeout.
Hawks: In a halftime ceremony, the Hawks retired a ceremonial jersey to honor Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, who helped keep the team in its downtown location. The city is providing $142.5 million of the $192.5 million in the two-year renovation of Philips Arena. The Hawks agreed to an 18-year lease extension to remain at the city-owned arena through 2046. … G Malcolm Delaney (ankle) did not play.

CHRIS PAUL UPDATE
Asked when All-Star point guard Chris Paul will return from a left knee injury, Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said: “I hope tomorrow, but it’s not gonna be.” After that tease, D’Antoni said he expects Paul to miss another two weeks. “But we’re going to be cautious with it so it could stretch a few more days,” he said.

Paul was with the team in Atlanta while missing his ninth straight game.

UP NEXT
Rockets: Host Utah on Sunday in the first of three straight home games.
Hawks: Visit Cleveland on Sunday.

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