CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Hawks did not open the regular season quite the way that they wanted to. The Hornets quickly erased the Hawks’ one-point lead at halftime to down them 116-110 at Spectrum Center on Wednesday night.

Here are five observations:

1. The Hawks never gave up as the Hornets held a firm grip on the game. But a 37-point fourth quarter from the Hawks could not save them from the hole they dug themselves in both the second and third quarters.

The Hornets outscored the Hawks 53-47 between the two frames while holding them to 13-of-45 overall shooting and 2-of-13 shooting from 3.

But the Hawks got back to moving the ball like they did in the first period and it allowed them to find better looks to get them a 99-98 lead despite a 3 from Hornets forward P.J. Washington with 4:37 left.

Hornets rookie Brandon Miller made a 3 and Charlotte never relinquished its lead for the rest of the night. Despite a big 3-pointer from Hawks guard Trae Young that pulled them within 111-108, the Hornets kept them at bay.

Young ended the night with 23 points and nine assists, but did not have the best shooting night (4-of-19).

2. The Hawks struggled to generate offense midway through the game after making 52% of their field goals in the first quarter after they got a boost from their bench down the stretch.

The Hawks eventually built their lead to 44-33 halfway through the second quarter but the Hornets ratcheted up their defense to disrupt the Hawks.

They also had to contend with the Hornets’ Terry Rozier, who scored 11 of his 24 points in the second period.

3. The Hawks needed a boost in scoring as they struggled to get into a rhythm early. Jalen Johnson helped the Hawks settle in the first half and get out front by as many as 11 points with 6:14 remaining in the second quarter.

Johnson scored 13 of his 21 points in the first half and helped to electrify his team with back-to-back dunks at the end of the first quarter. He made the Hawks’ first 3-pointer of the night and only triple in the first half after the team went 0-of-7 from distance in the first 16 minutes of the game.

Johnson marked a career-high for points in any half of his career (previously 12 on two occasions). It also marked his sixth career half with 10 or more points and five or more rebounds.

“I’m looking forward to him having more career nights and obviously this is the first game of this year but he’s gonna have more career nights and hopefully we can win for him too, so we can celebrate,” Young said.”

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4. Over training camp, the Hawks put an emphasis on developing defensively as a team. Players spoke about holding each other accountable when it came to get back in transition so that they can get stops.

The Hawks want to be a team that can get out in front quickly and generate offense off of the havoc that they wreak on the defensive end. But on Wednesday, the Hawks allowed the Hornets to put them in a vicious cycle.

The Hornets shot 50% overall from the floor and made 65.3% on their two pointers as they beat the Hawks down court.

“We’re getting back in transition in the second half and they were scoring over us in the half court and scoring some tough buckets and we’re still taking the ball out of the net and so it’s hard to get out and run whenever you’re taking the ball out of the net,” Young said.

5. As the Hawks continue to adjust and find the right combinations, the team followed up its exhibition finale with Saddiq Bey as the starting power forward. He ended the night with 15 points after he heated up in the fourth quarter and looked to attack the basket.

The team always had the question of who would fill the opening at the four spot in the future and coach Quin Snyder continued to say that it was never a matter of Bey vs. Johnson. He said it will always come down to a matter of need.

“It’s not a binary question ‘is (it) Jalen or Saddiq’ and maybe tonight will make that clear,” Snyder said.

Stat to know

258 - Clint Capela compiled the 258th double-double of his career and his 119th as a Hawk with 15 points and 13 rebounds.


“He really did a great job attacking the rim particularly during that stretch late in the second quarter. When he rebounds the ball, he’s capable of pushing it.” - Hawks coach Quin Snyder on Jalen Johnson’s night.

Up next

The Hawks host the Knicks on Friday night.