With just over eight minutes left tonight, the Houston Rockets held a 20-point led over the Atlanta Hawks. James Harden was cooking and scoring from wherever he wanted and his fearsome arsenal of shooters were doing their thing. Teams with the best player on the court playing at home against a team on the second night of a back-to-back don’t lose when they’re up 20 late and their team is pulling off shit like this.
But the Hawks didn’t roll over. Instead, Tim Hardaway Jr. went off, stepped to Harden, and won the game for the Hawks with a wild 24-point outburst in the fourth quarter. He finished with 33 on the night, good for a new career high. Hardaway nailed three threes in the quarter and shot 8-for-11 in the frame. He started scoring right after the Hawks went down 20 and scored all 24 of his points inside the final nine minutes.
As the fourth-quarter highlight reel shows, he first got going by knifing past his perimeter defender and finishing in the lane. Eventually, he started hitting from outside, but his best baskets came after the Rockets brought heavy pressure against him and he still scored at the rim. He capped the run off in the most emphatic manner possible by dunking on Clint Capela. I hope you enjoy the Titanic version.
His teammates know how special of a night it was for him, lovingly trolling his postgame interview. Dwight Howard, the enemy of fun, had to hover over Hardaway and force David Aldridge to talk to him about his revenge game, but Hardaway was still the true star. If there’s anything to learn from this game, it’s that an Atlanta bird team winning in Houston either is or is not a sign that another Atlanta bird team will either win or not win on Sunday.