HOUSTON – With their star 3-point sharpshooter stuck in an 0-for-18 slump, the other four Atlanta Hawks starters carried the load on Tuesday night.
In the 121-115 road win over the Houston Rockets, Atlanta overcame both a 19-point deficit and the detrimental shooting woes of Kyle Korver.
Al Horford had 30 points and 14 rebounds, Kent Bazemore had 26 points and Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague both added 22 as the Hawks won for the seventh time in eight games. Korver had just two points, making both of his free throw attempts.
Korver is currently mired in a shooting slump. After going 0-for-8 from the 3-point line on Monday night in Indiana, he missed all 10 against Houston. Korver is 2-for-26 in his last four games, one of the worst shooting stretches of his career. After leading the league in 3-point percentage last season at 49.2 percent, Korver is having his worst shooting season in nearly six years, shooting under 39 percent.
Despite Korver’s off shooting, he found other ways to contribute.
“Kyle was instrumental in letting us know to stay strong, keep playing and not get discouraged, and I honestly think that’s what put us over the top,” Horford said. “He’s going to do other things to help us. I’ll give him 10 more 3s, and I’ll live with every one of them because he’s our best option.”
Korver was unavailable for comment after the game.
Atlanta took a lead late in the fourth quarter and employed the hack-a strategy, intentionally fouling Dwight Howard and Clint Capela repeatedly. The strategy was largely successful until Howard made a free throw to give the Rockets the lead with just over two minutes remaining.
Atlanta then scored the final nine points of the game to steal the road victory.
Howard led Houston with 30 points and 16 rebounds, while James Harden had 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
“We’re all frustrated,” Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We’re not getting the results we would like. There wasn’t a lack of effort. It wasn’t a lack of trying. Guys did the right things. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to make the plays.”
Playing in their third back-to-back in less than three weeks, the weary Hawks allowed a season-high 41 first-quarter points. Houston led 71-56 at halftime, but Atlanta’s defense buckled down in the third quarter, cutting the lead to seven to enter the fourth.
Houston scored a season-high 71 points in the first half, thanks in large part to a 73 percent clip from beyond the arc.
Thunder 131, Bucks 123
In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and Kevin Durant added 26 to lead the Thunder to a win.
Enes Kanter added 23 while rookie Cameron Payne had a career-high 16 for Oklahoma City.
Westbrook and Durant both scored more than 20 points for the 25th time this season as the Thunder overcame an early eight-point deficit to win for the 11th time in their last 14 games.
Khris Middleton scored a career-best 36 points to lead Milwaukee.
Knicks 108, Pistons 96
In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and Derrick Williams added 18 to lead six Knicks in double figures as New York snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over Detroit.
Jose Calderon added 15 points, Kyle O’Quinn had 12, Robin Lopez scored 11, and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 10.
Ersan Ilyasova led the Pistons with 19 points.
The Knicks led by only four points, 80-76, early in the fourth quarter, but went on a 25-11 run to take an 18-point lead on Williams’ long jumper with 1:42 left in the game.
Williams scored 16 of his points in the final quarter, hitting 5 of 6 shots from the field.
Grizzlies 99, Heat 90 (OT)
In Memphis, Marc Gasol scored seven of his 23 points in overtime to help the Grizzlies pull away in the extra period for a victory over Miami.
Zach Randolph added 17 points for Memphis. Mike Conley and Jeff Green had 16 points apiece, and Mario Chalmers scored 12. Gasol added eight rebounds, six assists and four blocks, including a pair of rejections in the closing minutes of the contest.
Gasol’s overtime performance included a stumbling move in the lane where he flipped the ball to the basket as he was fouled. The shot bounced through, Gasol converted the ensuing free throw and the Grizzlies were up 96-88 with 1:22 left — a lead Memphis would not relinquish.
Cavaliers 93, Nuggets 87
In Denver, LeBron James scored 34 points on the eve of his 31st birthday and Iman Shumpert added a season-high 16 as Cleveland beat the Nuggets.