For three quarters on Election Day, the Atlanta Hawks effectively played the Charlotte Hornets to a draw. In the closing period, however, the home team managed to pull away and the end result was a 113-102 defeat for Lloyd Pierce and company.
Though offense was not explosive for either team, the early going was kind to the Hawks as a general rule. Atlanta took a 9-3 lead at the outset and, despite missing seven straight threes, the visiting team generated reasonable looks.
The Hornets did respond with an 11-2 run to take their first lead but, from there, it was essentially a full-fledged back and forth for the body of 24 minutes. Jeremy Lin enjoyed arguably the best quarter of his season in the first, scoring nine points on 4 of 5 shooting, and that was key in keeping the bench engaged.
Atlanta missed 14 of its 16 three-point attempts prior to halftime but, aside from that, the overall offense flowed in the second quarter, particularly when it came to Trae Young. The rookie did commit five turnovers, but he compiled 14 points and five assists for his trouble, and fellow rookie Kevin Huerter, making his first NBA start, provided stellar across-the-board play on both ends.
Alex Len also put together an efficient half, scoring 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting, and his work included an early dunk.
As noted above, Young was able to get anywhere he wanted on the floor offensively, and that manifested with finishes at the rim.
Huerter also was able to put down a lay-up, using his off-hand and a little bit of juice.
In on-brand fashion, Young also dished out a few noteworthy assists.
Good cut. Good find. Good dunk.— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 7, 2018
All good. pic.twitter.com/xXdRD7vl4o
And, not to be outdone, the best first half highlight for Atlanta came from Vince Carter, who jumped in the time machine and lit up Jeremy Lamb.
Vince Carter still doing this in the NBA at 41. pic.twitter.com/MBNiJWuS4j— - ✌ (@TheNoLookPass) November 7, 2018
If we’re being honest, though, the most memorable play of the half came from the opposition, as Miles Bridges submitted a “dunk of the year” nominee.
When the second half began, the Hornets zoomed out of the gate, scoring the first nine points to take real control of the game for the first time. On the bright side, Atlanta’s first bucket (more than three minutes into the third quarter) was a beauty.
The third quarter was, on the whole, unkind to the Hawks, as the Hornets took a four-point lead into the closing period. Kent Bazemore was the lone bright spot with 12 points in the period but Atlanta committed a ghastly 10 (yes, 10) turnovers in the 12-minute quarter and that was the catalyst for Charlotte.
Atlanta did right the ship to the start the fourth quarter, though, scoring the first four points, including a beautiful DeAndre’ Bembry layup.
<extends right arm out with palm facing skyward> pic.twitter.com/H5DjvLFXxz— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) November 7, 2018
From there, the Hornets put together a 12-2 run to regain the edge, claiming a nine-point lead with approximately eight minutes remaining. The Hawks did respond, slashing the margin back to seven, but another 12-4 spurt the home team effectively put Atlanta away and that was the end of the real threat.
Individually, the Hawks utilized one of the best showings of the season from Lin, as the veteran guard scored 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting. Elsewhere, Young finished with 18 points and 10 assists, with 16 points and four steals for Bazemore and a smattering of seven points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block for Huerter.
The Hawks will face a quick turnaround after this particular contest, with an overnight trip back to Atlanta to face the New York Knicks on Wednesday. Stay tuned.