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Hawks overpower Hornets 132-103 behind dominant third quarter

On to Friday in Cleveland.

Charlotte Hornets v Atlanta Hawks - Play-In Tournament Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks were at home to take on the Charlotte Hornets in the 9th seed vs 10th seed play-in tournament game. Whoever won this game would go on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Both teams coming in were evenly matched, splitting their regular-season series 2-2 and finishing with the same record. This game would break those ties, and the winner continues their postseason hopes. In the end, the Hawks won in dominant fashion, defeating the Hornets 132-103.

Kevin Huerter gave the Hawks their first three of the game.

Trae Young found Clint Capela for this no-look lob for the and-1, giving the Hawks an early three-point lead.

It was evident that it would be hard for the Hornets to have any inside presence to affect the Hawks, but they were also giving up open perimeter shots as well. The Hawks indeed capitalized and saw their lead grow to as much as 13 points in the first. Huerter and Capela were the bright spots in the quarter and led the Hawks to a 32-23 lead going into the second.

The Hawks stayed steady through the first part of the second quarter, keeping the Hornets from getting into a rhythm. Luckily for the Hawks, the Hornets were missing easy shots as well, and couldn’t get within striking distance in the quarter.

Young continued affecting the game with his playmaking, even though he was struggling on offense.

Danilo Gallinari was having himself a good game as well, scoring 12 points in the half.

The Hornets made a few shots late in the half to cut their deficit down to six, but Young answered back to help the Hawks go into the halftime with a 60-52 lead. It was a dominant half for Capela, as had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Young came out aggressive to start the half, serving De’Andre Hunter with a no-look pass for the layup, and then a few possessions later hit his first three of the game.

That wasn’t the last time you’d hear from Hunter, as he continued piling on the points for the Hawks in the third.

From there, the Hawks began to hit shot after shot, and the Hornets failed to answer back. Late in the third, the margin was as big as 27 points. They were dominating on the offense, and playing great on defense as well.

The Hawks went into the fourth leading 102-76. Bogdan Bogdanovic opened up the quarter with a three.

Gallinari continued his strong play in the fourth, taking advantage of the mismatch.

It was a tough hill to climb for the Hornets to get back into the game, as the Hawks completely took over from the start of the second half.

Young finished the game with 24 points and 10 rebounds, Hunter finished with 22 points and seven rebounds, Capela finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Gallinari finished with 18 points.

The Hawks will travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Friday, and the winner will officially be the No.8 seed in the playoffs.

Stay tuned.