Tim Hardaway Jr stars as Hawks erase 20-point fourth quarter deficit to stun Rockets 
Tim Hardaway Jr dropped 23 of his career-high 33 points in the Hawks fourth quarter rally. AP

TIM Hardaway Jr. exploded for a career-high 33 points and caught fire late as the Atlanta Hawks rallied from a 20-point fourth quarter deficit to stun the Houston Rockets, 113-108, at the Toyota Center on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

Hardaway Jr. scored 23 points in a furious fourth quarter rally that powered the Hawks comeback after trailing 97-77 with 8:26 minutes in the period. Dwight Howard also swept the season series against his former team with a huge double-double of 24 points and 23 rebounds in a stunning win that spoiled James Harden’s 41-point outing.

Harden scored 12 straight points, including three triples, to open the third as the Rockets threatened to pull away after a tight first half that saw 13 lead changes. Houston built a 16-point lead and kept an 86-73 advantage into the fourth.

The Rockets heated up early in the fourth with a 7-2 start and extended the lead to 20, 97-77, with 8:26 left. But Hardaway Jr. took over and capped a 32-11 run with a three-point play to give the Hawks a 109-108 edge with 1:35 to go.

Howard then blocked former teammate Harden at the rim before a Hardaway Jr. slam put the lead to three, 111-108 with 41 seconds left. After Trevor Ariza missed on a game-tying triple, DeAndre Bembry slammed the door on the Rockets with a jam to complete the comeback.

Paul Millsap added 16 points and Bembry chipped in 10 off the bench to help Atlanta improve to 29-21.

Clint Capela had a career-high for Houston with 22 points along with nine rebounds, but the Rockets fell to 36-17. Eric Gordon added 14 off the bench.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph