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Hornets leave defense at home, lose to Hawks, 124-123

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The Hornets couldn’t get stops against a struggling Hawks team and dropped to 9-10 on the season.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Monk tied his career high with 26 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the team’s poor defense, and the Hornets lost to the Atlanta Hawks 124-123.

Marvin Williams opened the scoring for Hornets with back to back 3-pointers. Rookie Trae Young got off to a good start, hitting a couple of very deep 3-point attempts and dropping a nice dime to John Collins in the pick and roll. Frank Kaminsky and Dwayne Bacon were the first two subs off the bench, and Frank responded with six quick points. He made a layup and foul shot on his first meaningful touch and hit a 3-pointer on his second. The Hornets poured in 33 points in the first eight minutes but cooled a bit as the quarter wound down. After one, they led 43-32.

The Hornets looked disjointed during Kemba Walker’s break to start the second quarter and allowed the Hawks to go on an 11-0 run. Malik Monk scored a quick eight points to keep the Hawks at bay. Walker struggled mightily during the period, missing all eight of his shots and having three attempts blocked. He was visibly frustrated with the officiating and was seemingly more focused on getting a whistle than he was running a productive offense. Meanwhile the Hawks ravaged the Hornets with drive-and-kicks. At the half, the Hornets held just a one point lead.

The Hornets poured in 13 quick points to start the third period, nine of which came from behind the arc. However the Hawks matched them shot for shot and eventually tied the game at 84 at the midway point of the quarter. The Hawks built up an eight point lead off that momentum, but the Hornets were able to trim the deficit down to three entering the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was characterized by the teams trading runs. Malik Monk made three 3-pointers in the period to keep the Hornets within striking distance. Unfortunately, the only stops the Hornets seemed to be able to get on the defense were bail out shots from the Hawks. After a Walker jumper gave the Hornets a one point lead with 14.6 seconds to go, Kent Bazemore drove straight to the rim and finished over Dwayne Bacon to put the Hawks ahead with a few ticks left. Walker’s game winning attempt was blocked, and time expired with the Hawks clinging to a one point lead.

The game was marred by poor Hornets defense. The Hawks frequently drove the ball into the pain, stressing the Hornets defense. The Hornets were slow to recover to kick outs when they happened, which allowed the Hawks to convert 16 of 39 3-point attempts. The Hawks outscored the Hornets 58-28 in the paint.

On offense Kemba Walker struggled to get going inside the arc, where he put in just three of 14 shots. There were stretches where he forced an issue, including the team’s penultimate possession. With the Hornets nursing a one point lead, the captain dribbled out roughly 23 seconds of the shot clock before kicking the ball out to Miles Bridges, who couldn’t get a shot off before the shot clock expired.

There were some bright spots in the poor performance. Marvin Williams joined the aforementioned Walker and Monk as 20 point scorers. Frank Kaminsky put in an efficient 11 points in 12 minutes of action.

10 of the Hornets’ next 12 games are at home, starting with the Bucks tomorrow night. It’s a perfect opportunity for the team to get on a roll.