The Houston Rockets ended 2012 with a bang as bench player Carlos Delfino scored 22 points and matched a season-high with six 3-pointers in a lopsided affair that ended with Houston shooting past the Atlanta Hawks 123-104 on New Year’s Eve night.
The Rockets were unconscious from the perimeter shooting 55.2% (16-of-29) overall and had seven different players drain a 3-pointer in the game. Houston is just the second team this season to shoot better than 50% in a game against Atlanta (Miami Heat – 12/10/12).
James Harden led Houston with a game-high 28 points and was phenomenal at getting to the free-throw line with ease as he drew fouls on the hacking Hawks all night long. He did an even better job at capitalizing on the situation by sinking 12-of-13 foul-shots.
Rockets center Omer Asik had his second-best rebounding night of his career, pulling down 17 boards in the game (all defensive) to go along with 11 points. His best night corralling caroms came on opening day this season against the Hawks in Atlanta when he got 19.
Overnight sensation Jeremy Lin had a solid game for Houston chipping in with 16 points, eight assists, four rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots. Teammates Marcus Morris (15) and Toney Douglas (10) were also in double figures.
The Rockets obliterated the Hawks in the second quarter as they shot 67% and outscored Atlanta 38-19 en route to a 64-46 halftime lead.
The Hawks cut the deficit down to 72-64 with 6:27 left in the third but couldn’t sustain the comeback as Houston broke out from an 18-11 run to end the period.
Somehow in the fourth quarter, Atlanta managed to come as close as 102-97 with 5:22 remaining in regulation, but again couldn’t get over the hump as Houston put the game away with a 21-7 spurt down the stretch to secure the 123-104 victory.
Atlanta was led by big Al Horford’s double-double performance of 18 points and 13 rebounds. Lou Williams was the high point man for the Hawks with 21 points on 9-of-16 (56.2%) shooting. Josh Smith made his way back from a hip injury on Saturday and dropped 17 points against the Rockets to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks.
Rookie sharp-shooter John Jenkins continued his great play after seeing ample playing time Monday night and finished with a new career-high 15 points while shooting 66.6% from both 2-point and 3-point range.
Jeff Teague narrowly missed posting a double-double with 10 points and nine assists.
The Atlanta Hawks (19-10) will be on the road to christen 2013 with a game against the New Orleans Hornets (7-23) on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at 8:00 PM (ET).