The Charlotte Hornets took advantage of a sluggish Atlanta Hawks team Monday, easily beating their Southeast Division rivals 105-90 at Spectrum Center.
The Hornets (31-39) still face an uphill climb in their pursuit of a playoff berth. They’re three games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but in winning a second consecutive game showed there’s still some hope with 12 games remaining in the regular season.
Led by Nic Batum and Kemba Walker (16 each), five players scored in double figures for Charlotte, which led led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter. The Hornets made 50 percent of their shots from the field. The Hornets got strong performances off the bench from Frank Kaminsky (14 points), Jeremy Lamb (12) and newly signed point guard Briante Weber (eight points, four rebounds, three steals).
The Hawks jumped to an early 10-3 lead before the Hornets found their footing. Charlotte put together a 17-3 run during on stretch to take control.
“We started the game kind of slow,” said forward Marvin Williams, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. “They took advantage of us, they came out aggressive. But with the second unit, we really picked up the energy.”
Equally as important, the Hornets held the Hawks (37-33) to 44 percent shooting.
Three who mattered
Kemba Walker: Hornets guard scored 16 and had four assists, and knocked in 4-of-8 3-pointers.
Nic Batum: Also scored 16, but also was a facilitator, handing out six assists.
Dennis Schroder: Hawks guard scored 20, with 3-of-7 3-point shooting, added six assists.
▪ The Hawks were without two starters – forward Paul Millsap (knee) and guard Kent Bazemore (knee). Tim Hardaway Jr. started for Bazemore and Ersan Ilyasova filled in for Millsap. Ilyasova had 10 points by halftime and finished with 13.
▪ The Hornets got rolling in the first half with a 17-2 run that helped turn a 17-11 deficit into a 34-21 lead with nine minutes left in the half.
▪ Charlotte was nearly as effective from 3-point range (40 percent) as from the field (45.2 percent) in the first half.
▪ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had two rebounds and passed Matt Geiger for 12th place on the franchise’s career list with 498. Kidd-Gilchrist left the game in the second half with a strained ankle and didn’t return.
▪ Hawks rookie DeAndre Bembry went to high school in Charlotte at Independence and Rocky River before his family moved to New Jersey. He went to Saint Joseph’s before being drafted by the Hawks.
▪ Hornets guard Briante Weber had a solid outing in his first game after signing a multiyear contract. Weber, who had played on two 10-day contracts, scored eight points and had four rebounds.
As coach Steve Clifford gives Weber his shot, Brian Roberts’ minutes have decreased substantially.
They said it
“He’s like the Energizer Bunny.” – Hornets forward Marvin Williams, describing Weber’s play.
“The first four possessions, they were driving the ball right by us. We did better after that.” -- Clifford.
A OFFENSE: Spread the wealth effectively, with five players in double figures and going 12-for-30 from 3-point range.
A DEFENSE: Yes, the Hawks might have seemed disinterested, but the Hornets made sure they didn’t find any life.
A COACHING: Making sure this team isn’t folding down the stretch.