The Hawks have begun the post-Al Horford era.
It did not get off to a good start. It got off to a great finish.
The Hawks fell behind by 14 points before a late rally to score a 118-116 overtime victory over the Bobcats Saturday night at Philips Arena.
Lou Williams hit two free throws with 32.1 seconds left to put the Hawks up 110-108. He then grabbed the rebound of a Kemba Walker miss, was fouled and made two more free throws with 23.4 seconds remaining. For good measure, Williams grabbed the ensuing rebound of an Anthony Tolliver miss, was fouled and made two more free throws 18 seconds remaining. He would make four more free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
The Hawks had to rally late to force overtime.
Al Jefferson scored in the paint and after a Jeff Teague miss, Walker made a free throw to put the Bobcats up 99-96 with 17.9 seconds left in regulation. Paul Millsap scored and the Hawks fouled Walker again. He made both free throws for a 101-98 lead with 11.8 seconds remaining.
Pero Antic, who missed his four previous 3-point attempts, scored from long range with 3.1 seconds left to tie the game at 101-101. Gerald Henderson missed at the buzzer to force overtime, the third straight game with extra periods for the Hawks.
The Hawks (17-13, 12-4 home) won their second straight to move a season-best four games over .500. They have won five of the past six games.
The victory was the 10th straight over the Bobcats.
Millsap led the Hawks with a double-double of a season-high 33 points and 13 rebounds. Williams had 28 points, Teague had 20 points and Mike Scott finished with 18 points.
Kyle Korver extended his NBA-record streak to 99 games with a 3-pointer. He tied Josh Smith (267) for eighth on Hawks’ all-time list, done in 104 games.
The Bobcats (14-17, 6-7 road) dropped their second straight game. Jefferson led the way with 24 points and 23 rebounds.
Horford was lost with a torn right pectoral muscle Thursday. He will likely miss the rest of the season with the injury.
“It’s a big shock,” Elton Brand said before the game. “I was just thinking, maybe a week ago, what a luxury it is to have Al, Paul (Millsap) and all these good bigs who come to play. Now, we don’t have that luxury anymore because he is such a great player. It’s initially a shock but we have to find a way.”
The Hawks trailed by 14 points before using a 15-4 run between the third and fourth quarters to tie the game, 81-81, on a 3-pointer by Lou Williams with 9:45 remaining. Mike Scott answered a Bobcats basket with a 3-pointer and the Hawks had their first lead since midway through the second quarter.
The run to get back in the game did not surprise Bobcats coach Steve Clifford.
“They have established themselves as clearly the third-best team in the East,” Clifford said before the game.
The Bobcats took a 50-45 lead at halftime as the Hawks struggled in the second quarter. The Hawks shot just 26 percent (5 of 19) in the period. The Bobcats took a 10-point lead with a 14-1 run. The Hawks made just 3 of 16 shots during the stretch.
The Bobcats pushed their lead to 14 points in the third quarter before the Hawks’ run made it a ball game.
The Hawks entered the game averaging 118 points and 31 assists in the previous six games. The Bobcats entered third in the NBA in fewest points allowed at 93.4 per game.
The Hawks start a two-game road trip at the Magic Sunday. They play the Celtics Tuesday afternoon.