The Hawks finally beat the Hornets after falling to them twice earlier this season, beating them 132-91 Saturday night at State Farm Arena.

Here are five observations:

1. After playing just four minutes one game ago, the Hawks’ Bruno Fernando looked to make the most of his minutes. So when he cocked his arm back and slammed the ball down, while posterizing the Hornets’ Grant Williams in the process, he couldn’t help but smile.

Fernando’s night of scoring was far from over though. He set a career high in points with 25.

It all began early in the second quarter when he pulled down three offensive boards to help push the Hawks on a 13-5 run. Fernando’s energy and presence in the paint eventually helped the Hawks extend their lead and set the tone for the starters when he went to the bench.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Hawks’ Quin Snyder on blowing out the Hornets

2. While Fernando led the Hawks’ bench in scoring, he had plenty of help from Garrison Mathews among the reserves. Coming into the night, Mathews made 42.9% of his 2.4 3-point attempts per game. But he knocked down 4-of-6 shots from deep to help the Hawks.

Mathews has tried to shoot the ball more over the last five games, averaging three triple attempts. He scored a season-high 20 points to help lead the reserves to one of their best nights of the season since the team has had to shuffle the rotation so much.

“As a shooter sometimes it goes in, sometimes in doesn’t,” Mathews said. “That’s just how it goes. Of course teammates, they find you. I don’t create for myself. So, if I’m hitting shots, it’s because of them.”

3. The reserves scored a season-high 60 points on Saturday despite both of their top producers moving to the starting lineup. Both Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Andre Hunter have provided the Hawks with lifts off the bench.

The Hawks’ previous season-high in scoring was 136 on Nov. 25 against the Wizards, when they were fully healthy.

With injuries to Jalen Johnson (right ankle sprain) and Saddiq Bey (left knee torn ACL), the Hawks have had to start both Bogdanovic and Hunter.

They have had to dip deep into the bench, leaning on Mathews, Fernando, Trent Forrest and Wesley Matthews.

“We’re continuing to work to get better,” coach Quin Snyder said. “And particularly, bouncing back after Phoenix, where we didn’t play as well coming off the bench and then you see that it’s gratifying anytime you see players getting better.”

4. One of those players leaned on was Dylan Windler, who made his State Farm Arena debut since the Hawks signed him to a two-way contract earlier this month. Windler scored five points, including one 3-pointer, which were his first points in a Hawks uniform.

After Bogdanovic collapsed the Hornets’ defense, he kicked the ball out to Windler on the wing. The 27-year-old didn’t hesitate and knocked down the jumper.

Windler has had a little bit of time to acclimate since the Hawks signed him three weeks ago. He checked into the team’s game against the Trail Blazers in the second quarter but played just five minutes. But he got a more extended run on Saturday.

“I felt pretty comfortable for the most part,” Windler said. “Obviously, I haven’t had any live extended minutes like that in a while. So, it just feels good to get up and down for a little bit, try to get my legs back. But for the most part it felt comfortable. Just trying to add a little bit of energy to us, add a spark, crash the boards hard and make shots for us.”

5. The Hawks had plenty of energy on the defensive end, continuing their recent trend of strong defensive habits. Over the last 10 games, the Hawks rank 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency (113.8).

On Saturday, they held the Hornets to 91 points. It’s the fifth time in 14 games that they have held an opponent under 100 points.

Stat to know

40 -- The Hawks had a season-high 40 assists, for the first time since Nov. 15, 2017 versus the Kings.


“I don’t want to celebrate too much. I’d rather go play defense.” -- Hawks coach Quin Snyder on Fernando’s poster dunk.

Up next

The Hawks host the Celtics on Monday night at State Farm Arena.