The start of a three-game road trip didn't go quite as planned for the Atlanta Hawks. Perhaps a visit to the lowly New Orleans Hornets Tuesday night can solve some issues.
Atlanta was trounced, 123-104, at Houston last night and ran into a hot- shooting Rockets squad. The Rockets made 53.6 percent of their shots and hit 16-of-29 3-pointers. James Harden had a game-best 28 points for Houston.
The Hawks were deadly from beyond the arc, too, hitting 12-of-23 shots.
Lou Williams led the visitors with 21 points and Al Horford chipped in 18 and 13 rebounds. Josh Smith was back in the lineup after missing the previous game and pumped in 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
"They are a really good team at closing things out," Atlanta coach Larry Drew said of the Rockets. "They have a bunch of guys who can make 3-pointers and we tried to take that out, just couldn't tonight."
John Jenkins scored 15 points off the bench for the Hawks, who had a four-game winning streak stopped and fell to 8-5 away from Philips Arena. Atlanta will close out the road swing Friday at Detroit.
New Orleans has won two of three games since an 11-game slide and will try to put the brakes on a six-game home losing streak Tuesday.
The Hornets recorded their seventh win of the season with Saturday's 98-95 road victory over the Charlotte Bobcats as Eric Gordon scored 24 points in his return after missing the first 29 games due to knee surgery.
"It was good to get a win here for us and for me to get back out there," Gordon said. "I just wanted to be back out there with the guys."
Ryan Anderson contributed 19 points off the bench for New Orleans, which trailed by as many as 21 points and got 16 points and eight assists from Greivis Vasquez.
New Orleans went 3-13 in the month of December and hopes to work on its 3-12 ledger in the Big Easy. It will have to start playing better down the stretch and is 0-17 when trailing after the third quarter and 1-17 when being outshot. The Hornets are 0-13 when allowing 100-plus points.
The Hornets and Hawks will meet for the first time since Atlanta posted a 94-72 win at New Orleans Arena last Jan. 29. The Hawks are just 4-14 in their previous 18 trips to the bayou.