Jeremy Lin had 16 points and eight assists to help the Houston Rockets beat the Atlanta Hawks 123-104 at home on Monday and end a two-game losing streak.
Lin also had four steals and two blocks as the Rockets rebounded from back-to-back defeats at the hands of Western Conference powers San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
Houston coach Kevin McHale had implored his team to take better care of the ball after committing 24 turnovers in each of the two defeats, and the Rockets responded, giving away the ball only nine times.
However, Lin, who had nine turnovers in the two losses, was still loose with the ball on Monday, giving the ball away another four times.
Atlanta coach Larry Drew praised the Rockets after the game.
“Houston is a very hard team for us to match up with. The fact that they do such a phenomenal job, we have a hard time defending this team,” he was quoted as saying in a report on the Rockets’ Web site.
Drew also described Lin as a “pretty good defender,” long seen as one of the Taiwanese-American point guard’s weaknesses.
“He does a really good job at fighting over screens and through screens. We didn’t do as good a job setting screens. Jeremy seems to be getting a lot more confident in his game as the season goes on,” Drew said.
The Rockets blew the game open with a 16-0 run in the second quarter that gave them a 64-46 halftime lead. The Hawks got as close as five in the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run, but five quick points by Carlos Delfino and a three-point play by James Harden put the game away. Harden led the Rockets with 28 points, while Delfino added 22 points and eight assists. The win improved Houston’s record to 17-14, sixth-best in the NBA’s Western Conference.
The Rockets were coming off their worst loss of the season, a 30-point defeat by Oklahoma City and had allowed at least 120 points in their past two games.
Lou Williams had 21 points for the Hawks, whose winning streak ended at four games.
Additional reporting by AP