NBA

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 - 7:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Martin leads Rockets past the Hawks

Kevin Martin (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)
Houston's Kevin Martin drives against Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia Saturday.
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HOUSTON (AP)

Kevin Martin scored 27 points, Kyle Lowry matched a career high with 18 assists and the Houston Rockets led from start to finish in a 95-84 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Luis Scola added 21 points, Jordan Hill grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds and Chase Budinger scored 17 points for the Rockets, who looked fresh despite playing their third game in three nights.

Joe Johnson and Al Horford scored 15 points apiece for Atlanta.

Former Rocket Tracy McGrady scored 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting. He first entered the game with 3:57 left in the first quarter, and most fans greeted him with boos. McGrady played for the Rockets from 2004-10, a period defined more by injuries to him and Yao Ming than by team success.

The Rockets lost 113-93 in Memphis on Friday night, a performance that coach Kevin McHale ripped before Saturday's game. But Houston was sharp from the opening tip against Atlanta, hitting nine of its first 11 shots, including two 3-pointers, to build a quick 22-11 lead.

The Hawks also played on Friday night, beating New Jersey at home, and McHale and Larry Drew were already tapping their benches to rest their tired starters late in the opening quarter.

McGrady drove for a two-handed dunk with 8 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter, cutting the Hawks' deficit to 36-28. The Rockets' shooting tapered off, and Josh Smith's three-point play with 3:27 left in the half drew Atlanta to within five.

Martin scored 13 points in the first half and Houston led 51-44 at the break.

The Hawks missed 10 of their first 13 shots in the third quarter, and the Rockets maintained their comfortable lead. Martin sank two 3s about a minute apart to stretch the lead to 68-53, Houston's biggest to that point.

Trailing by 12 after three quarters, Drew had all his starters on the bench for the start of the fourth.

Lowry prompted the loudest cheer of the night when he blocked Jannero Pargo's breakaway layup attempt near the 10-minute mark. But Jeff Teague and Johnson re-entered the game, and the Hawks rallied, trimming the gap to 79-73 when McGrady took Teague's pass and dunked with 5:19 remaining. Teague had five assists.

Lowry delivered his 17th assist to Scola for a mid-range jumper with 2:09 to go, and Houston led 89-80. Martin put the game away with a long jumper with 90 seconds remaining, and Lowry matched his career high with another assist to Scola in the last minute.

The Rockets have not trailed in two home games this season. They beat San Antonio 105-85 on Thursday.

Notes: Martin has scored at least 21 points in three straight games after going 1 for 10 from the field in the opening loss at Orlando. ... Lowry has at least eight assists in each of the Rockets' first four games. ... Atlanta plays seven of its first 11 games on the road, including games at Miami on Monday and Chicago on Tuesday. ... The Hawks and Rockets will not play again in the regular season.

Tagged: Hawks, Rockets, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry, Al Horford, Luis Scola, Jeff Teague

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