NBA: Hawks outlast Rockets behind balanced effort
John Collins scored 24 points and Trae Young added 23 along with 13 assists to lift the host Atlanta Hawks to a 117-107 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in the season opener for both teams.
De’Andre Hunter had 22 points and offseason acquisition Dejounte Murray collected 20 points, 11 assists and five steals for the Hawks, who held a 28-13 edge in points off turnovers.
Collins made 9 of 12 shots and Hunter sank 10 of 15 to help Atlanta shoot a robust 50.0 percent from the floor (45 of 90).
Onyeka Okongwu recorded 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Atlanta.
Houston’s Kevin Porter Jr. collected 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, two days after agreeing to a four-year, $82.5 million contract extension.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 20, 2022
Rookie Jabari Smith Jr. had 17 points and seven rebounds, Jalen Green had 16 points and Alperen Sengun contributed 15 off the bench for the Rockets.
Houston whittled a 14-point deficit down to three after Josh Christopher made a driving layup with 7:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. Murray, however, tapped the ball away from Sengun and converted a dunk at the other end to push Atlanta’s advantage to 95-90.
Hunter added an emphatic dunk and Murray countered Christopher’s jumper with a 3-pointer. Murray’s fifth steal of the game set up Okongwu for a layup, giving the Hawks a 102-92 lead with 5:22 to play.
Houston pulled within six points with 3:30 remaining before Hunter sank a 3-pointer and converted a tip-in. Atlanta kept the Rockets at bay by making its free throws down the stretch.
Collins sank a 3-pointer from the corner and Hunter made a mid-range jumper to push Atlanta’s lead to 64-50 early in the third quarter. Houston, however, trimmed the deficit to five points following an 11-2 run, with Smith sinking a 3-pointer and converting a layup during the surge.
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