Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
James Harden scored 45 points as the Houston Rockets handed the Atlanta Hawks a 109-102 loss in their home opener.
The Atlanta Hawks opened the 2012-13 regular season with a 109-102 loss to the Houston Rockets thanks to a huge performance from James Harden and subpar effort on the boards. Harden tossed in 45 points to lead all scorers including 18 points in the decisive fourth quarter.
Atlanta erased a 16 point deficit in the second half and took the lead in the fourth despite being out rebounded by a 58-36 margin. The Hawks were able to stay in the game thanks to 21 turnovers by the Rockets but in the end couldn't get the stop or the timely rebound that was needed to secure a victory.
Lou Williams scored 19 of his team-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Hawks. Josh Smith added his first double-double of the season with 18 poins and 10 rebounds. Al Horford and Jeff Teague finished with 14 points each with Teague recording a team-high seven assists.
Harden followed up his sterling debut in a Rockets uniform by hitting 14 of 19 field goal attempts for his career-high 45 points. Jeremy Lin narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Marcus Morris chipped in 17 points off the bench.
Next up for the Hawks is a road game on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.