Hawks fall to Hornets, losing third straight game

Hawks guard Trae Young, left, tries to drive past Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
caption arrowCaption
Hawks guard Trae Young, left, tries to drive past Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

For much of the game, the Hawks (4-4) looked listless in a 102-94 loss to the Hornets Wednesday at State Farm Arena.

Next up, the team will have an off day Thursday before facing Charlotte again, this time on the road Saturday.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. It would have been difficult for the Hawks to get off to a slower start. They were held to 11 points in the first quarter and (as the score would imply) couldn’t get anything going. They shot 22.7% from the field (5-for-22) and went 1-for-10 from 3-point range, missing both the free throws they took, as well. Starters not named John Collins (Trae Young, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, Clint Capela) combined to go 5-for-19 (26%) from the field and 1-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half. Overall, those four shot a combined 14-for-47 (29.8%). Young had seven turnovers in the first half. Capela added 19 rebounds (to go with seven points) and Hunter worked his way up to 17 points, five assists and six rebounds. Sloppiness, not a lack of energy, was the culprit, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said of the problematic first quarter.

2. After a shellacking in the first half, trailing by as much as 24 in the second quarter, the Hawks showed more life in the third, outscoring the Hornets 27-22 in that period, though they still entered the fourth down 14 points. At the 7:22 mark in the fourth, they narrowed it to a four-point deficit off a 3-pointer by Brandon Goodwin, who played well in the backup point guard role as Young struggled, and two minutes later finally took the lead, 86-85, on an and-one by Collins. It wasn’t enough, though, as they still couldn’t stop Gordon Hayward, who scored a quick seven points to put Charlotte back in control and close out the win. Collins led the Hawks with 23 points and had a double-double with 11 rebounds.

3. Hayward, new to the Hornets this season after three years in Boston, had a career-high 44 points, and the Hawks couldn’t do much at all to slow him down. He went 15-for-25 from the field (60%), 4-for-9 from 3 (44.4%) and had success getting to the line (10-for-12, or 83.3%), adding seven rebounds. Hayward had 14 points in the fourth quarter alone.

4. The Hawks have lost three games in a row after starting the season 4-1. It’s a disheartening skid for a team with playoff aspirations, particularly given that on paper, these seemed like winnable games (against Cleveland, New York and now Charlotte). It’s early in the season and the team’s confidence is still high, but Pierce acknowledged they need to pull themselves out of this rut: “I think we haven’t arrived yet, and the message is clear. As we take a break tomorrow and come back for Friday’s practice and travel, we’ll be able to get back in, refresh and work. Our guys, they’re high-confidence, they’re learning each other, they’re good character, high-character guys, and we’ll be fine. But this is a nasty stretch.”

5. Kevin Huerter was the only Hawks player who could get 3-pointers to fall. Off the bench, Huerter went 5-for-12 from 3 (41.7%), finishing with 19 points, six assists and five rebounds. No one else made multiple 3′s, and only two other players made a 3 at all (Goodwin went 1-for-5 and Hunter went 1-for-7).

Stat of the game

17.5% (or 7-for-40, what the Hawks shot from 3-point range as the offense struggled)

Star of the game

Hayward (had a career-high 44 points and paved the way for the Hornets)

Quotable

“Tonight was nasty, there’s no shaking that.” (Pierce on the sloppiness in the game)

About the Author

Editors' Picks