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Hawks storm over top of Harden-less Rockets

Hawks storm back from 18 points down to beat Harden-less Rockets 104-96

Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) reacts after making a go-ahead jumper late in an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Tuesday, March 3...

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Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) reacts after making a go-ahead jumper late in an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Tuesday, March 3...

ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta showed why it is top of the NBA standings by coming from 18 points down to beat Houston 104-96 on Tuesday, with Jeff Teague's 25 points leading the Hawks to a fifth-straight win.

The Hawks moved a game ahead of idle Golden State for overall top spot, while other key results saw an undermanned Chicago beat Washington to stay top of the Central Division, and Southwest leader Memphis beaten comfortably at home by a revitalized Utah.

Atlanta's Al Horford scored 18 points as the Hawks capitalized on the absence of Houston's James Harden, the league's leading scorer, due to a one-game suspension.

Even in his absence, the Rockets led for the most of the game until Teague's 3-pointer with 4:24 remaining put Atlanta up 91-90.

Houston forced a couple of ties in the closing minutes, but never regained the lead.

Jason Terry finished with 21 points in a reserve role for the Hawks, who had won their previous five games.

Chicago beat Washington 97-92 to stay half a game ahead of Cleveland in the Central.

Nikola Mirotic scored 23 points for the Bulls, who were without former MVP Derrick Rose (knee), All-Star Jimmy Butler (elbow), and trusted reserve Taj Gibson (ankle), but still managed to win by sharing the load among five players in double figures.

Chicago's starting five was the 20th different starting lineup it has used this season. That's their most for seven years.

Washington was led by John Wall's 21 points and 11 assists.

Memphis failed to capitalize on Houston's loss and stayed only 1-1/2 games clear atop the Southwest after losing 93-82 at home against Utah.

Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors scored 21 points each to lead the Jazz to a third straight win.

Courtney Lee's 18 points led the Grizzlies, who were without starting forward Zach Randolph and reserve guard Beno Udrih out with illness, and defensive stalwart Tony Allen suspended for the game due to a violation of team policy.

Cleveland's LeBron James scored 27 points to move into 21st place on the NBA's career list and help the Cavaliers cruise to a 110-79 victory over Boston.

James, who has 24,508 career points, moved past Ray Allen with a layup in the third quarter. He was only required for 26 minutes, so comfortable was the victory.

Kyrie Irving scored 18 points in his return after missing two games with a shoulder injury, while Boston's Brandon Boss scored 15 points as the Celtics suffered their heaviest defeat of the season.

Denver responded to the firing of coach Brian Shaw hours before the game by beating Milwaukee 106-95, with Danilo Gallinari scoring a season-high 26 points.

Charlotte's Al Jefferson had 21 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 104-103 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sacramento handed New York its worst loss of a dismal season, winning 124-86 at Madison Square Garden after having gone up by 30 points in the first half.

Updated : 2021-09-18 12:20 GMT+08:00