Posted: Thursday, November 28th 2013 at 4:32am
Garcia and Brooks lead Rockets over Hawks 113-84
By The Associated Press
HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets haven't had a drop-off offensively despite top scorer James Harden being sidelined with a sore foot for the last three games.
Houston's role players have stepped up in each game to make up for his lost points.
On Wednesday night it was Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks who came through, each scoring 21 points to help the Rockets cruise to their third straight win, 113-84 over the Atlanta Hawks. The 29-point win was their largest of the season.
"It's just the way it is," Brooks said. "We are a talented team. A lot of guys are working out and have a lot of energy that are ready to play."
Garcia's 21 points were a season-high and Brooks has been great in two of the three games with Harden out, scoring 26 points in the first before adding 21 on Wednesday.
"We've got good chemistry going right now," Garcia said.
Houston didn't trail for its fourth straight home game and again used a balanced scoring attack with Harden out.
"Their bench was the difference in the game," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said after Houston's reserves outscored his 67-32. "They have some depth and they have a good team. All those guys came in and contributed."
The Rockets went up by 12 on John Jenkins' 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter. Then Brooks outscored the Hawks 8-4 over the next 1 1/2 minutes to extend Houston's lead to 90-74.
"The fourth quarter we made a strong effort to come out the first three minutes and kind of put it away a little bit and that's what we did," Brooks said.
Houston shot almost 52 percent from 3-point range with Brooks and Garcia combining to make seven of Houston's 14 3-pointers.
Paul Millsap had 16 points for Atlanta and Cartier Martin, who grew up in Houston, started in place of an injured Kyle Korver and had 14.
Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones had 14 points each and Dwight Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds for Houston which improved to 11-5.
Al Horford scored 14 points and had eight rebounds as Atlanta dropped its third straight game.
The Rockets were up 77-67 entering the fourth quarter.
"I think for three quarters we put ourselves in some positions where we had some opportunities and battled," Budenholzer said. "In the fourth quarter we weren't able to find a way to sustain that effort and keep it close."
Harden was out with a sore left foot. Jeremy Lin started for Harden, who is averaging 24.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
But Lin sustained a right knee bruise and left the game with about eight minutes left in the first quarter and did not return. Coach Kevin McHale said X-rays were negative and he would know more about his status for Friday's game on Thursday.
Houston led by 11 points with about eight minutes left in the third quarter before Atlanta used an 8-2 run to get to 65-60. Millsap had four points in that span and Martin capped it with a jump shot.
The Rockets scored the next five points to push their lead to 70-60 with about four minutes remaining in the third.
Along with Korver (rib contusion), the Hawks were also without Shelvin Mack (sprained left ankle) and Lou Williams (right knee rehabilitation) who did not travel to Houston. Korver was injured on Tuesday night after extending his streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 88. He needs one more to break the NBA record set by Dana Barros from 1994-96.
Houston jumped out to a 20-9 lead thanks to nine early points from Jones and was up 56-45 at halftime.
NOTES: Parsons has scored in double figures in 11 straight games. ... McHale said before the game that Harden was feeling better on Wednesday and that he doesn't expect him to be out for any extended time.
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