The Atlanta Hawks hosted the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night, looking to get back on track after two consecutive home losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks. In the first half, the home team was certainly still off the rails and, in the end, the ugly start cost them in a 102-94 defeat.
The Hawks had their lowest scoring first quarter since the 2013-2014 season, scoring just 11 points in the opening period. In the first 12 minutes, Atlanta shot just 22.7% from the floor and 1-of-10 from three-point distance, scuffling mightily.
As such, they trailed 27-11 heading to the second quarter, lacking any rhythm whatsoever in the opening minutes. This was unfortunately something that did not change in the second quarter.
They trailed 59-40 at the break, shooting 34.9% from the floor and 22.2% (4-for-18) from three. Defensively, there was little resistance on the path to the rim, with Charlotte scoring 22 points in the paint and shooting 15 free throws in the first half.
Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 23 first-half points, while John Collins led Atlanta with 14 points and nine rebounds at the break. Trae Young struggled mightily, having seven turnovers to just two points in the first half. Kevin Huerter knocked down three three-pointers in the half.
Atlanta was unable to mount much of a comeback early in the third, as they still trailed 70-53 at the 6:31 mark in the third. Outside of Collins getting to the rim, there was little consistency to speak of.
Clint Capela makes a strong move with his shoulder to keep the Hawks within striking distance. pic.twitter.com/IzsF5h4EXh— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 7, 2021
The Hawks did make a mini-run to get it back to a ten-point game briefly behind the second unit late in the third, but trailed 81-67 headed to the fourth.
Step 1️⃣: Push the tempo.— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 7, 2021
Step 2️⃣: Get the defense in mismatches
Step 3️⃣: Cut.
Step 4️⃣: Share the ball. pic.twitter.com/ebNdNsFQnh
The Hawks got the deficit back to just seven at the 9:17 mark with a score by Clint Capela. Atlanta went on a 9-2 run to start the final period, leading to a timeout by the Hornets.
Collins converted an and-one to give the Hawks the lead with 5:22 remaining, making it a 19-4 run overall. Charlotte responded however, with a three-point play from Hayward giving them a 90-86 lead with 3:24 to play.
From there, Atlanta was unable to regain control, ultimately falling 102-94.
Collins paced Atlanta with 23 points and 11 rebounds in what was overall a truly ugly offensive performance by the home team. Young never really got his footing in this one, shooting just 2-of-9 and committing seven turnovers.
Huerter was 5-for-12 from distance, scoring 19 points off the bench but missing a couple of crucial looks late. De’Andre Hunter had 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Hayward led all scorers with 44 points and seven rebounds in the win. LaMelo Ball tallied 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists off the bench.
Atlanta will travel to Charlotte for a rematch with the Hornets on Saturday evening.