With three straight disappointing losses, the Atlanta Hawks entered a three-game homestand with something to prove and a manageable schedule in which to make a statement. On Monday evening, the Hawks performed quite well on the offensive end and, in a game that needed (plenty of) extra time to determine a winner, the home team emerged with a 143-138 win in double overtime.
In contrast to some uninspiring starts in previous games, the Hawks came out of the gate in positive fashion, zooming to a 12-3 run on 5-of-5 shooting. Trae Young led the way with three assists and a deep three-pointer.
The Hornets responded with nine straight points out of a timeout, but the Hawks then countered with an 8-2 run of their own to reestablish the advantage. Young continued his hot passing, with a look that few can execute.
The remainder of the opening quarter was a bit of a slog, especially on the defensive end. The Hawks shot a blistering 68 percent from the floor in the opening period but, with defensive foibles and an explosion from Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham, Atlanta was merely tied after 12 minutes of play.
Early in the second quarter, Cam Reddish and Vince Carter converted back-to-back threes to give the Hawks a five-point edge and Atlanta’s offense continued to cook. There were many examples of the two teams trading baskets but, if nothing else, the Hawks kept scoring and doing so efficiently.
Late in the half, Young connected on another deep three-pointer and the Hawks led by as many as six points in the final minute before taking a 66-63 edge into the halftime break.
In the first 24 minutes, the Hawks scored more than 1.4 points per possession, lighting up Charlotte’s defense with 66 percent shooting and 58 percent from beyond the arc. Defensively, Atlanta was not as effective, though, and the three-point margin painted the picture accordingly.
After the break, the Hornets scored first to climb within one point, but Young knocked down another (very) deep three-pointer and Atlanta pushed their lead to 77-69 in short order.
The Hawks continued to excel offensively, with John Collins at the front of the line in the third quarter. The third-year big man made every shot, racking up 23 points through two and half quarters of action.
The rest of the third quarter was back-and-forth in nature, with the Hawks taking a four-point lead into the closing period. Atlanta’s offense was still zooming along, though, with 60 percent shooting through three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the Hawks led for several minutes, pushing ahead by a seven-point margin after a three-pointer from De’Andre Hunter with 7:49 to go. Later, Atlanta used an 8-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Kevin Huerter, to take a 115-106 lead with 4:25 to play.
Count on Kev to knock it down ☔️☔️☔️ pic.twitter.com/II2aNl8vI5— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) March 10, 2020
From there, not much went well for the remainder of the quarter. The Hawks still led by five points with two minutes to go but, with some heroics from Rozier, Charlotte wouldn’t fade. The Hornets took the lead in the final minute, but the Hawks did respond with a gorgeous alley-oop transition to reclaim the advantage.
Still, overtime was on the horizon, with the Hornets hitting two free throws with 5.5 seconds left and Young splitting a pair of free attempts with 1.8 seconds left to tie the score.
In the extra frame, neither team scored for the first minute, with the Hornets drawing first blood on a bucket by Rozier. Young fought back, though, scoring the first seven points of the overtime period for the Hawks and putting Atlanta in a reasonable position at 129-129 with 90 seconds to play.
Out of a timeout, the Hawks got a good look from Reddish, but it didn’t fall for the rookie wing. The Hornets then produced a dunk to take the lead with just over a minute remaining, but Collins — with the use of a second effort — knotted the score again with a basket at the rim. Charlotte then (inexplicably) had a shot clock violation for just their fourth turnover of the game, but Atlanta didn’t take advantage, as Young missed a floater in the final seconds.
The Hornets then took possession with 3.8 ticks left, and the Hawks gave an intentional foul immediately. Charlotte then called another timeout, setting up a play with 2.7 seconds remaining, and the Hornets briefly looked to be in position to win the game.
Treveon Graham was called for a foul that would have given Charlotte free throws but, after a successful coach’s challenge by Lloyd Pierce, the Hawks took over with the ball and 1.0 seconds remaining. With time to set up a play, Young got loose for a quality look, but it fell short to produce double overtime.
The sixth quarter (insert laughter here) of the night was not the prettiest, with the Hornets flailing offensively and the Hawks holding on for dear life. Atlanta led for much of the second overtime, including a three-point edge after a Reddish dunk in the final minute. Rozier banged home yet another three-pointer but, though that tied the game, Hunter converted three free throws with 13.3 seconds remaining to put Atlanta in control.
Mercifully, the Hornets were unable to tie the game and, with Reddish burying two free throws with 3.3 seconds left, the Hawks secured the win.
It was a spectacular offensive night for the Hawks, with an offensive rating north of 130 even with the overtime periods inserted to drag things down a bit. Young led the way with 31 points and 16 dimes, Collins produced 28 points and 11 rebounds, Reddish added 22 points off the bench and it was a team-wide effort.
The Hawks will return to action on Wednesday with a home game against the New York Knicks.