The Standard Journal

Howard has 24 points, 23 rebounds in Hawks’ win over Rockets

- The Associated Press

HOUSTON — Dwight Howard repeatedly insisted that this had nothing to do with revenge.

Howard scored 24 points and grabbed 23 rebounds in his first game in Houston since signing with Atlanta in the offseason, leading the Hawks to a 113-108 victory over the Rockets on Thursday night.

“I didn’t really think about it like that,” Howard said. “It wasn’t like, ‘Aww, we’ve got to beat Houston because it’s my first time back.’ I just knew we needed the win.”

The Hawks trailed by as many as 20 points and entered the fourth quarter down 13 before Howard led a late comeback.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had a career-high 33 points for Atlanta, including a driving dunk with less than a minute remaining that gave Atlanta a three-point lead. Hardaway scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, going 8 for 11 from the field, 3 for 5 from the 3-point line and 4 for 5 from the foul line.

Howard said Hardaway gets a scary look on his face when he’s angry enough to take over a game, and he saw it in the fourth quarter.

Teammates teased Hardaway in the postgame locker room, jokingly providing him special services, such as bringing him deodorant and offering to make him a plate for his dinner.

“These guys can play all they want, but what was working was DeAndre’ Bembry — you’ve got to give him all the credit,” Hardaway said. “He took the challenge of guarding possibly the MVP of the season, it’s a hard task, but he stayed discipline.”

Bembry matched up with James Harden for nearly the entire fourth quarter, holding him to just six points.

Harden finished with 41 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, but the Rockets struggled to make shots down the stretch. Clint Capela had 22 points and nine rebounds.

Houston lost its lead when Hardaway was fouled on a driving layup and converted the free throw to give Atlanta a onepoint lead with two minutes remaining.


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