The Hawks trailed most of the first three quarters of the game before using a 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter to build a 95-90 lead. The Hawks later led by a point, 110-109 with 2:59 to play, but failed to score for the remainder of the game as the Hornets finished with a 12-0 run to earn the 11-point victory.
With Dennis Schroder on the bench with foul trouble for much of the second half, Kent Bazemore scored 23 of his team-high 26 points in the final two periods. But it was not enough as the Hawks’ offense collapsed in the final three minutes of the game by coming up empty with four missed shots and a turnover in their final five possessions of the game.
In the same stretch, Charlotte made five of eight field goals while pulling in offensive rebounds on all three of their misses to score on each of their final five possessions in the game.
Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer elected to keep Schroder and his five fouls on the bench down the stretch rather than putting his starting point guard back in the game. With Malcolm Delaney in the game instead, the Hawks had been solid offensively for much of the final period before hitting the wall at the end.
From the beginning of the game, the Hawks struggled to get stops on the defensive end. Charlotte scored on each of their first five possessions in the game taking an 11-7 lead on a three-pointer from Kemba Walker just over two minutes into the game. But the Hawks drew even at 13-13 just a couple of minutes later when Ersan Ilyasova intercepted a Walker pass and converted it into a transition layup.
Ersan Ilyasova gets the steal and transition layup to tie the game at 13-13 in the middle of the first quarter.
The Hornets then put together a 7-0 run to take a 20-13 lead on a Nicolas Batum transition dunk with 5:37 left in the quarter. Later in the quarter, the Hawks were able to pull within two points at 27-25 on a Marco Belinelli three pointer with 1:10 left but trailed 30-26 at the end of the opening period.
After playing through recent offensive struggles, Taurean Prince led the Hawks with ten first-quarter points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who entered the game averaging 10.3 points per game, led the Hornets with ten first-quarter points as well.
The Hawks opened the second quarter with four consecutive makes from behind the three point line, one each from John Collins and Tyler Dorsey followed by two from Mike Muscala. The last gave the Hawks their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at 38-35 with 9:18 to play in the first half.
A Mike Muscala three-pointer gives the Hawks a 38-35 lead early in the second quarter.
But fouls spoiled the Hawks’ efforts in the second quarter as they committed 11 fouls in the period, leading to the Hornets making 15 of 16 free throws and resulting in a 61-52 Hornets’ lead at the half. The Hornets outscored the Hawks 20-9 at the free throw line in the first half. Also, the Hawks committed ten first half turnovers compared to just three turnovers by the Hornets.
After the intermission, the Hawks scored on their first three possessions, including two three-pointers from Prince. But ten consecutive points on four Batum shots increased the Hornets’ lead to 73-60 just past the nine-minute mark in the third quarter. Schroder had to head to the bench with four fouls just three minutes into the second half.
A three point play for Kidd-Gilchrist matched the Hornets’ largest lead of the game at 76-63. But Bazemore orchestrated a 12-0 run, including eight points of his own, to pull the Hawks within a point at 79-78 with 5:40 left in the third period.
Kent Bazemore pulls the Hawks within a point, 79-78, mid way through the third quarter.
The Hawks tied the game at 81-81 on three free throws from Prince. The Hornets then built a 90-83 before a Collins’ three-pointer, his second make of the game and fourth of the season to this point, pulled the Hawks within four points to end the third quarter trailing 90-86.
John Collins makes his second three-pointer of the game to pull the Hawks within four at 90-86 at the end of the third quarter.
With Schroder on the bench for much of the third quarter, Bazemore led the Hawks with 14 points in the period while Prince added nine points of his own.
The Hawks finally took control by opening the fourth period with a 9-0 run to take a 95-90 lead on a Bazemore layup with 9:01 to go in the game. Schroder picked up his fifth foul with 8:44 remaining but didn't head to the bench until 6:32 left to play with the Hawks leading 101-96.
The Hawks held on to the lead until a Dwight Howard dunk gave the Hornets a 104-103 lead with 4:32 left to play. The Hawks took a 110-109 lead on three free throws by Muscala with 2:59 to go, but the Hawks did not score again as the Hornets went on to win 121-110.
In addition to Bazemore’s 26 points, the Hawks got 21 points from Prince and 14 from Muscala. Walker led the Hornets with 29 points as all five Hornets starters finished in double figures for the game.
The Hawks once again hold the NBA’s worst record (14-34), a half game behind Orlando (14-33) and a full game behind Sacramento (15-33).
The Hawks return to Atlanta to play the first of three more home games. The Wizards come to town on Saturday, followed by Minnesota on Monday and a rematch with the Hornets on Wednesday to close out January.