Sunday afternoon the Atlanta Hawks (32-27) faced the Charlotte Hornets (30-27) in what could have been a decisive matchup for the post-season in the Eastern Conference.
It wasn’t a great start to the game by the Hornets, who made just one of their first eighteen attempts from the field. The Atlanta Hawks slowly increased their lead up to 16 with a couple of good looks and a dunk by Kent Bazemore. Jeremy Lin scored the second and last field goal for the Hornets, as Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a half-court buzzer beater to end the quarter 9-25.
Jeremy Lin opened the second quarter with a basket for the Hornets, but had trouble at the foul line: Charlotte made just 5 of their first 10 attempts, letting the Hawks fly away to a 24-point lead after 16 minutes. A franchise-record three by Jeremy Lamb (number 592 in the season) gave Charlotte the boost they needed. They came back within 12, as Marvin Williams hit 3 out of 5 shots from beyond the arc. The first half ended with the Hawks leading by 14.
The long break changed the momentum of the game in Charlotte‘s favor, but it did not last long. A 9-2 run to start the third quarter allowed the Hornets to put some pressure on the Hawks, who replied with a 0-12 run and a 17 point lead. Atlanta could not pull away anymore mostly because of their turnovers, 13, which gave the Hornets another chance to be back in the game.
A couple of baskets and a block by Lin-Sanity made it a one possession game halfway through the fourth quarter, but then again the Hawks put up a baby-run to go up 72-79.
At this point of the game, despite trailing by 7, Charlotte had 7 more field goal attempts and 18 more free throw attempts than the Hawks. With less than two minutes to go, Atlanta sealed the deal with a 0-6 run. The Hawks earned their 33rd win in the season, hoping in a top-4 seed for the playoffs.
Atlanta Hawks: Bazemore 14 points, Teague 9 assists, Horford 16 rebounds;
Charlotte Hornets: Williams 16 points, Walker 5 assist, Williams 9 rebounds.