Houston Rockets vs Atlanta Hawks Preview

By Michael Ma

Nov 2, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) steals the ball from Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) in the second half at Philips Arena. The Rockets won 109-102. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Keys for the Houston Rockets as they take on the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night.

Where’s The Beard?

James Harden has missed the past two games due to a sore left foot, and is listed as a game-time decision Wednesday night. The Rockets have won both games and are 2-1 overall without Harden.

If Harden is unable to go, then Jeremy Lin will once again start in his place, with Aaron Brooks getting extended minutes as well off the bench. With the way that Brooks played Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, I’d like to see him try to replicate his 2009 playoffs form once again.

Brooks also suffered a thigh bruise against the Grizzlies Monday night, but says he’s just fine and is available.

Showcase The Depth

The Hawks are a team in transition after parting ways with Josh Smith and head coach Larry Drew. Aside from Jeff Teague, who’s averaging close to 18 points and 9 assists, Kyle Korver(who’s shooting over 53 percent from the 3-point line), Al Horford, and Paul Millsap, the Hawks don’t really have anyone else who could be a threat.

Lou Williams is the only player off the bench who can score, but is on a minutes restriction as he just came back from an ACL injury that sidelined him for most of last season. Look for either Brooks, Francisco Garcia, or Omri Casspi to have big games.

The Edge On The Glass

The Rockets should easily have the advantage in rebounding, as the Hawks rank 27th overall in the NBA in rebounds per game, while the Rockets are 3rd. Horford leads the Hawks at just 8 rebounds per game, and Dwight Howard has had huge games against his hometown team in the past(averaging 18 points and 14 rebounds against the Hawks for his career).

Omer Asik was huge Monday against the Grizzlies as he played the entire 4th quarter, and should have his way on the boards as well.

 Tip: 7 PM CST

TV: CSN Houston