Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Rockets Vs. Hawks: James Harden pours in 45 points, Atlanta falls 109-102

James Harden scored 45 points as the Houston Rockets handed the Atlanta Hawks a 109-102 loss in their home opener.

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Hawks drop season opener to Rockets 109-102

James Harden scored 45 points as the Houston Rockets handed the Atlanta Hawks a 109-102 loss in their home opener.

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Hawks dig early hole, trail Rockets 53-44

The Atlanta Hawks showed glimpses but struggled overall and trail the Houston Rockets 53-44 at halftime. Houston used its size effectively and beat Atlanta up on the boards while James Harden found a rhythm to help stake the Rockets to an early lead.

Atlanta got off to a good start getting in transition led by Devin Harris who scored nine of the team's first 15 points. However, the Rockets took control inside to the tune of a 34-20 rebounding advantage. Of Houston's 34 boards, 15 came of the offensive variety. Atlanta fell behind 28-21 after one and only a DeShawn Stevenson three at the halftime buzzer prevented the Hawks from going to the locker room down double figures.

Harris leads the Hawks with nine points at the break on 4-10 shooting. Al Horford and Josh Smith each scored eight points in the first half. Stevenson and Zaza Pachulia came off the bench to score six each.

James Harden leads all scorers with 17 points on 7-9 shooting. Marcus Morris added 10 points off the bench. Jeremy Lin has nine points, five rebounds and two assists at the break. Omer Asik was held scoreless in the first half but pulled down a game-high 12 boards.

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Larry Drew sets 'tentative' starting lineup

Larry Drew met with the media prior to the Atlanta Hawks' season opener against the Houston Rockets and released a "tentative" starting lineup. According to Drew, the Hawks will begin with Jeff Teague and Devin Harris in the backcourt with Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford up front. Drew indicated that he is still going back and forth at the shooting guard position and he could make a change prior to tip off.

Presumedly if Drew elected to make a change then DeShawn Stevenson would likely be inserted into the lineup and would draw the defensive assignment against James Harden. According to Drew, it is the matchup with Harden that is causing him the most worry.

Johan Petro is inactive for tonight's game with a sore back so both rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott will be in uniform. Patrick Patterson is likely to play tonight for the Rockets according to head coach Kevin McHale but Greg Smith will not be able to suit up.

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Rockets-Hawks tv/radio info and preview

The new-look Atlanta Hawks tip off the 2012-13 NBA regular season Friday night against the Houston Rockets at Philips Arena.

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