The Atlanta Hawks look to complete a 3-1 week and avenge an earlier loss when they take on the struggling Charlotte Hornets Saturday night at Philips Arena.
The Hawks bounced back from Wednesday's loss to the Raptors with a solid defensive performance in a 100-91 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. Jeff Teague continued his splendid play as he finished with 26 points and seven assists to lead six different Atlanta players in double figures. Teague has scored at least 23 points in each of the last five games and is averaging 25.8 points on 54 percent shooting over that span.
Both teams will be on the second game of a back-to-back after the Hornets dropped a 106-101 decision at home to the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Charlotte saw a 10 point lead evaporate and were outscored 32-21 in the fourth quarter. Marreese Speights led the way with 27 points off the bench for the Warriors. Brian Roberts led the Hornets with 20 points off the bench while Al Jefferson finished with 18 points and five rebounds.
Friday's loss extended Charlotte's losing streak to eight straight games and dropped their regular season record to 4-13. The Hornets haven't won since November 14 when they defeated the Suns 103-95. They are now just 3-6 at home and 1-7 on the road.
One of those home wins came earlier this month in a double overtime victory over the Hawks. Al Horford led Atlanta that night with 24 points while Teague finished with 22 and 15 assists. Al Jefferson turned in a monstrous performance with 34 points and nine rebounds. Lance Stephenson banked in a 27-footer as time expired in the second overtime to lift Charlotte to the win.
Stephenson is often a lightning rod for controversy and there is plenty surrounding the Hornets currently. Stephenson was benched in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's loss to the Trail Blazers by head coach Steve Clifford. After the game, Clifford said that some of Stephenson's struggles had to do with him trying to live up to the expectations of being a star after signing with Charlotte during the offseason.
"To be fair, one of the things that's made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar," Clifford said Wednesday. "He's not a star. He's a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years."
Then on Thursday, Fox Sports' Bill Reiter reported that it was Stephenson that had the biggest negative impact on Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers last season. Without Stephenson, Hibbert is back to performing at a high level. Reiter also reported that some in Charlotte are already questioning the move to bring in Stephenson. Things aren't exactly rosy for the Hornets who came into the season with a lot of expectations and were expected to build on last season's playoff appearance.
Thabo Sefolosha missed his second straight game on Friday due to flu-like symptoms. His status for Saturday's game is unknown. Charlotte will be without Marvin Williams for the second straight game due to a shoulder strain. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has missed the last nine games with a foot injury and Gary Neal is listed as questionable for Saturday's game with a shoulder injury.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, November 29, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM