Long layoffs again proved to be costly for the Atlanta Hawks as they responded from a three-game break with a thud in a 107-84 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hawks fell behind 17-2 to start the game and were outscored 35-22 in the third quarter against a Hornets team that has won just three times in their last 10 games.
The Hawks have struggled to maintain their intensity over long stretches of off days and it is something that the coaching staff is aware of.
"In two or three years we haven't played well coming off of three or four-day breaks," Mike Budenholzer said following Saturday's win over the Bulls. "I'm sure they will hear about that and they know it. So we want to play a lot better in Charlotte than we have in the past in this situation."
Whatever he and the coaching staff had to say wasn't effective as Atlanta dropped to 1-3 this season when they have had at least three days rest. They are just 5-11 coming off of at least three days rest since Budenholzer arrived during the 2013-14 season.
Total breakdown on both ends of the floor
If you are searching for a reason for the poor performance stop. It was a little bit of everything from the beginning. Atlanta shot just 37 percent from the floor in the game and were 7-for-25 from three-point range. Defensively they had a difficult time slowing down the Hornets who shot 44 percent from the field and knocked down 13 three-point shots. Charlotte controlled the glass with a 54-37 edge and finished with a 14-7 edge in second-chance points.
If Saturday's win over Chicago might have been one of the team's most complete games of the season, then this one might have been one of their most lopsided losses.
Point guard struggles
In a game like this, it is easy to find plenty of subpar performances. Al Horford followed up a 33 point effort on Saturday with a two-point, 1-for-4 performance against the Hornets. Still it was clear that Budenholzer was not happy with the point guard play early on and that led to an early substitution. Dennis Schroder got the call at the 8:05 mark of the first quarter replacing Jeff Teague in the lineup with the Hawks trailing 10-2. Charlotte would push the lead to 17-2 before Atlanta started to chip away.
Kemba Walker finished with a game-high 23 points while Jeremy Lin chipped in 19 off the bench. They attacked the paint relentlessly and helped to collapse Atlanta's defense opening up Charlotte's three-point shooting. Lin finished 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Teague and Schroder combined to go 6-for-23 from the field with 15 points, eight assists and three turnovers.