By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor
The Atlanta Hawks concluded their five-game home stand with an 87-76 home win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday afternoon.
Five Hawks scored in double-figures led by a team-high 14 points from Kent Bazemore. Al Horford grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds and scored 13 points for a double-double. It was the 200th time in his career that Horford has achieved this distinction. Paul Millsap scored 13 points while Tim Hardaway Jr. had 11 points off the bench.
The Hawks shot 49.4 percent from the field, making eight of of 17 three-pointers. Atlanta outrebounded Charlotte 48-41 in the contest and also scored more points in the paint 40-22.
“Its good to get a win before we head out on the road,” Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I think we’re hanging our hat on the defense for the last two or three games. Hopefully we just keep working on the offense, we can get better out there.
Charlotte struggled from the field, shooting 33.3 percent from the field and making seven out of 32 three-pointers. The Hornets’ shooting percentage and point total in the contest were both season-lows. Former Atlanta Hawks’ player Marvin Williams scored a game-high 16 points while Jeremy Lin had 15 points for Charlotte off the bench.
Trailing 46-32 to start the second half, the Hornets jumped out to a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 48-41 with 9:53 left in the third quarter. The Hawks regained control and led 68-57 heading into the fourth quarter.
Charlotte mounted another comeback attempt, starting the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run which included two baskets from Lin, making the score 70-64 in favor of Atlanta with 8:20 left in the contest. Both teams traded baskets but a three-pointer from Bazemore and a layup by Mike Scott increased the Hawks’ lead to 77-70 at the 5:43 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Hawks sealed the victory with consecutive buckets from Al Horford included a three-pointer at the top of the arc with 1:53 left in the contest to make the score 85-72 in favor of Atlanta.
Atlanta jumped out to a 25-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Charlotte struggled through the first 12 minutes of the contest, making only two out of 21 field goal attempts for a 9.5 shooting percentage. The Hornets’ lone baskets came on a jumper by Kemba Walker and a three-pointer from Lin. The Hawks shot 55 percent from the field in the first quarter.
“It was good to be on the better side of the first quarter,” Budenholzer said. “That gave us separation and the cushion to hold them off.”
The nine points were the lowest the Hornets have scored in a quarter this season.
“If came down to just readiness,” Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford said. “The game was won in the first quarter. They had more readiness than we did to start. You build yourself that big of a hole against a good team, it’s going to be hard to win.”
Atlanta continued its strong play though the second quarter and took a 46-32 halftime lead into the locker room. Bazemore and Millsap each scored a team-high nine points for the Hawks who shot 55.6 percent from the field, making four out of seven three-pointer attempts.
Charlotte’s offensive struggles continued through the first half as it shot 22-percent from the field through the first two quarters. The Hornets made five out of 18 three-pointers. Williams scored a team-high nine first-half points.