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Hawks Vs. Rockets: Defensive Execution Lacking In Loss To Houston

Despite it being the fourth game in five nights for the Atlanta Hawks, they were expected to have an advantage over the Houston Rockets who were playing their third game in as many nights. Yet it was the Hawks who looked gassed early as the Rockets raced out to a fast lead.

"They played their third game in three nights and came out and played at a higher level than we did," Drew said. "I told the guys that is totally unacceptable."

Atlanta looked a step slow in cutting off dribble penetration and according to Larry Drew didn't close out on shooters the way they did in the first two games of the season.

"We didn't fly around and contest like we did the first couple games, particularly the first game," Drew said. "We reverted back to short closeouts and not getting out there with a sense of urgency. With our theory as far as closeouts you have got to make them put the ball on the floor. We did not do that."

The Hawks certainly weren't able to run the Rockets off of the three-point-line with hard close outs. Houston was 9-19 from distance with Kevin Martin doing most of the damage going 6-10. With Atlanta trailing virtually the entire game, it felt like Houston answered every Hawks run with a made three to maintain their lead.

For more on this game Atlanta fans should check out Peachtree Hoops, Houston Rockets fans should stop by The Dream Shake. For updates on everything NBA Basketball, fans should check out SB Nation's NBA Basketball hub

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.