Houston Rockets vs Atlanta Hawks – Dec. 31, 2011 6:00PM

The gist: Expect sluggish legs with the Rockets on the tail end of the dreaded schedule hazard. The Hawks are on the second night of their back-to-back and will be coming off a home game against the Nets.

Key matchup: Kevin Martin vs Joe Johnson

A high-volume scorer, a reliable free throw shooter, and a primary offensive option. Check, check, check. This faceoff has the trappings of 30 points each from both ballers… by the end of the third quarter.

X-factor: Terrence Williams

With an Atlanta team that sports a shallow SF position (Josh Smith is a PF in my book), this is Williams’ opportunity to play his heart out. Of course, for all we know, I could be referring to Marvin.

Code Red: Tracy McGrady. Jerry Stackhouse. Vladimir Radmanovic. These three guys may have some gas left in the tank. The Rockets would do better than to spark their fuel with some open looks and converted baskets. Better make sure the Rockets don’t chow on too many slices of Alex Meruelo’s La Pizza Loca.

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