The Atlanta Hawks saved their chance in the playoffs. In a 9-10 playoff against the Charlotte Hornets, Trae Young won a stake 132-103, and the All-Star team didn’t have their best evening.
Atlanta Hawks (9) – Charlotte Hornets (10) 132:103 (BOXSCORE)
Young had difficulties, especially in the first half, at times the base wasted eight consecutive throws. Charlotte defended the All-Star better than any other team during the regular season, but as the game progressed the 23-year-old found ways to punish the defense and ended up with 24 points (8/24 FG) and 10 assists.
What was most important to the Hawks was that the other newbies also delivered. Clint Capella (15, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks) recalled the previous year’s outstanding performance, Kevin Hoyer (13) and Deandre Hunter (22, 7 rebounds) using the freedom Young created for them. Atlanta hit more than 50 percent of the field, exactly half of the three (16/32) went through the trap.
However, Charlotte’s defense was disastrous most of the time. The third quarter was a symbol of that. Atlanta scored 16 of his 24 attempts for 42 points, and even took 3 offensive rebounds to earn a second chance point. It was roughly last year’s edition when the Hornets suffered a similar disaster in the Indiana game (117-144).
Despite the poor odds, Lamelo’s ball (26, 7/25, 7 assists) was a top player for the visitors, as was BJ Washington (17, 7/10). Terry Rosier (21, 8/22) and Miles Bridges (12, 0/4 three) were disappointed, with the latter taking two teethers and an automatic ejection midway through the fourth quarter on vacation.
Charlotte completely collapsed in the third quarter
Charlotte got off to a better start with a few threes, and the Hawks seemed a bit surprised at first, but caught on. Young was mostly doubled, giving the others more space. Huerter used this to make three times and was the main factor in the 17:3 run by the hosts. On the other hand, the ball was soon subjected to two errors in his calculation, as did weak midfielder Mason Plumley. At 32:23 after the first quarter, the Hornets were still serving well, also because Young missed eight straight throws.
Things improved a bit for the visitors with Washington in five, but Atlanta found other loopholes. Isaiah Thomas was ruthlessly attacked, as was the ball, Danilo Gallinari was slowly preparing for the Hawks, and Capella made a great game in the area. However, the Hornets were still within walking distance at the break, with Paul and Terry Roser finally managing to put in some touches. 60:52 Atlanta in 24 minutes.
Charlotte’s highly praised offense still didn’t last. The guests left a lot lying around the ring and also couldn’t turn the open-angle threes (Rosier!). On the other hand, Atlanta had an unexpected production from Hunter who scored 16 points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter. The striker scored 12 of those during the 21-5 Hawks which extended the lead to +24.
From that moment on, it was just a show for the hosts (highest lead: 33 points), who now got a chance to book the last playoff ticket left in the East on Saturday night. In Cleveland, the top-seeded opponent the Miami Heat is played between the Cleveland and the Hawks.