ROCKETS AT HAWKS, 7:30 P.M., ET

TV: League Pass

• The Atlanta Hawks are 25-19 in home openers since moving to Atlanta for the 1968-69 season. Tonight the Hawks open their 14th season at Philips Arena. They are 7-6 all time in Philips home-openers and have won six straight.

• Hawks head coach Larry Drew, who is 2-0 in season-openers and 2-0 in home-openers, was still undecided about who he wanted to start his third season-opener as Hawks head coach. The sticking point was at two-guard. If Drew chooses to go small, he’ll start Jeff Teague (6-foot-2) and Devin Harris (6-foot-3) in the back court, Kyle Korver (6-foot-7) and Josh Smith (6-foot-9) at the forwards and Al Horford (6-foot-10) in the middle. Should he choose to bigger, he’ll likely insert 6-5 DeShawn Stevenson for Harris.

• The reason for the Hawks’ indecision is how to match up with James Harden. The lightning-quick 6-5 two made quite a first impression against Detroit. But he’s already put that game behind him and has simple goals for tonight in Atlanta. “Go out there and compete, have fun and just play hard. I can’t worry about what happened last game. It’s a new game, a new 48 minutes,” he said.

• Rockets head coach Kevin McHale credits Harden’s basketball IQ for his quick adaptation to his new surroundings. “James is very bright. He’s really got a good basketball IQ. He understands basketball. He picks things up on the fly very, very well.”

• McHale was not buying “new faces” for the team’s carelessness with the ball against the Pistons, when the Rockets committed 20 turnovers. “We had turnovers that had nothing to do with getting to know each other. We had turnovers that had to do with just some bad decision-making. We had opening-night jitters, believe me. We did more things out of character in Detroit that we hadn’t done in 28 days. At the end of the day we got the win but we’ve got a lot of room for improvement.”

• Forward Patrick Patterson is expected to play tonight for Houston, while center Greg Smith is definitely out. Atlanta center Johan Petro also will not see action for Atlanta.

Jon Cooper

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