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Rockets bounce back with win over Hawks

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets had allowed 120 points in consecutive tough losses entering Monday night's game against Atlanta.

This time it was Houston's turn to put on an offensive show that left the other team at a loss.

James Harden had 28 points and the Rockets rebounded from their worst loss of the season with a 123-104 win over the Hawks.

The Rockets were coming off a 30-point defeat by Oklahoma City that was preceded by a loss to the Spurs.

On Monday night they used a 16-0 run in the second quarter to build a big lead and hold on for the win.

“We really moved the ball well obviously shooting 61 percent in the first half,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “We made a ton of shots. We moved the ball really well and attacked.”

Lou Williams had 21 points to lead the Hawks, who saw a four game winning streak snapped with the loss.

“Houston's shooting pretty much sums it up,” Atlanta's Josh Smith said. “They got on a streak where they couldn't miss.”

Houston was up by 15 points in the fourth quarter before Atlanta used a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 102-97 with about five minutes remaining. Carlos Delfino scored five quick points after that, before a three-point play by Harden extended Houston's lead to 110-97 less than a minute and a half later.

The Rockets had a nice play soon after that when Harden stole the ball from John Jenkins and passed to Marcus Morris, who found Omer Asik on an alley-oop dunk.

“We had two kind of bad losses and we needed to come back and play our brand of basketball and do whatever it takes to get a victory,” Harden said.

McHale had implored his team to take better care of the ball after having 24 turnovers in each of the last two games. He seemed to have gotten through to his young team, as the Rockets had just nine, despite the Hawks entering the game forcing more than 16 a game.

“It was big for us,” McHale said of limiting their turnovers. “We just can't afford to turn the ball over. If we don't do that and we make just good and simply plays, usually we can get some pretty good shots with some movement, and our guys knocked them down tonight.”

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Jeremy Lin #7, of the Houston Rockets, takes a shot over Al Horford, of the Atlanta Hawks, at the Toyota Center in Houston on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AFP)

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