Rockets forward Terrence Jones continued his exceptional play since joining the starting lineup, burning the Hawks twice on early perimeter pump fakes that resulted in a thunderous baseline dunk and an unimpeded driving layup.
When the Hawks remained grounded after Jones stood stationary behind the arc, he buried a 3 that pushed the lead to 14-6, a basket that served as the midpoint of an 11-0 run.
By the close of the first period Jones and Chandler Parsons had combined for 16 points as HOUSTON carried a 30-19 lead into the second. Atlanta guard Cartier Martin, who picked up two fouls in the opening 36 seconds of the game, singlehandedly staved off a rout by nailing four 3s in the period.
But after the Hawks closed to within 43-40 with 4:30 left in the half, Parsons and Jones combined to score the ensuing 10 points as HOUSTON re-established its double-digit lead. The highlight of that spurt was Jones' block on defense and his alley-oop dunk seconds later, with Parsons recording the assist.
NOTES: With Hawks G/F Kyle Korver sidelined indefinitely due to a rib contusion suffered Tuesday night against Orlando, F Cartier Martin filled the void in the starting lineup. Martin, a HOUSTON native, was a standout at Nimitz High School. ... The Hawks' backcourt was further depleted with the absence of Shelvin Mack (left ankle sprain) and Lou Williams, who is not participating in back-to-back games as he returns from a torn right ACL. Rookie G Dennis Schroder joined the rotation. ... The Rockets relied on their superior depth of late, with C Omer Asik providing a boost against the Grizzlies in Memphis after G Aaron Brooks carried the load against the Minnesota Timberwolves. G Jeremy Lin and F Omri Casspi remained consistent threats. "They've all really pitched in," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "We're going to need them all year long."