The Hornets got off to the coldest start imaginable. They made one of their first eleven shots from the field as they fell behind 16-3 to start the game. Miles Bridges finally made the Hornets second field goal nearly six minutes into the game with the slowest eurostep you’ll ever see on a fast break. The Hornets started to find themselves upon Devonte’ Graham’s reentry into the game. He hit a couple of 3-pointers and found Bridges for another as the Hornets settled into the game. At its worst, the Hornets trailed 24-7. They cut the deficit to 10 for a bit before taking a 13 point deficit into the second quarter.
A 9-1 Hornets run to start the second quarter pulled them to within five of the Hawks just a few minutes into period. That margin held as the general separation between the two teams for just about all of the second quarter. A Kevin Huerter fadeaway put the Hawks up seven in the final minute of the quarter, and that persisted into the half.
The Hornets withstood a 3-point barrage from Bogdan Bogdanovic in the early parts of the third quarter to keep the game close before getting hot from three themselves. They made six of eleven 3-point attempts in the quarter as they eventually took the lead from the Hawks. They held that lead, 77-75, heading into the fourth quarter. It wasn’t all hunky dory though, as the injury bug bit once again, and PJ Washington tweaked his ankle and left the game, not to return.
The Hornets attacked the basket early and often in the third quarter as they built onto their lead. Within a few minutes, the lead had grown as large as ten. Brad Wanamaker made a point to get to the basket throughout the game, and it was extra apparent in the fourth quarter. Lou Williams scored eight straight points for the Hawks across three possessions to narrow the deficit to three and force a Hornets timeout with 4:16 remaining. Miles Bridges came out of the timeout and threw down a dunk that should have just ended the game on the spot.
Unfortunately the league did not do that, but it seemed like the Hornets thought they would. They only made one more shot over the final 3:47 of the game. The Hawks made more shots than that, and the Hornets lost their first game in which they had been leading late in the fourth quarter.
It was disappointing see the Hornets falter late in a game for basically the first time all season, but it was bound to happen at some point. It was admirable to see them battle back after such a slow start.
Up next is a visit from another shorthanded team—the Los Angeles Lakers without LeBron James and Anthony Davis .