LaMelo Ball opened the scoring with a friendly bounce on a long 3-pointer. The Hawks took an early lead as the Clint Capela controlled the interior on both ends and forced James Borrego to take a timeout. The Hornets went very cold from the field and missed six straight shots as the Hawks went on an 11-0 run before it was ended by a Montrezl Harrell dunk off a feed from Cody Martin. The Hornets struggled to close out to the Hawks shooters and gave up 32 first quarter points. They shot 35% from the field and turned the ball over five times. Still, they only trailed by nine.
The Hornets offense was carried by PJ Washington and the bench as the big three of Ball, Miles Bridges, and Terry Rozier struggled to get going. That trio started the game 2-for-18 from the field before Bridges tipped in a Martin miss and powered to the basket for a layup to break the streak of misses. Ball and Rozier got a couple baskets of their own as the Hornets pulled within six going into what should have been the final possession of the half. Ball drove to the basket way too early in the shot clock and gave the Hawks one more possession that ended in two points. At the break, the Hornets trailed by eight, with PJ Washington’s 13 point half keeping the Hornets in the game.
Then the third quarter happened.
De’Andre Hunter and Trae Young got scorching hot, the Hornets couldn’t grab a rebound, and the rest of the Hawks did whatever they wanted. The Hornets offense became tentative and couldn’t generate good looks. You can basically watch or remember the first quarter of the play-in game against the Pacers last year in lieu of the third quarter of this game. The Hornets fell behind by an insurmountable margin and watched their season end in disappointing fashion for the second straight year.
This is very disappointing. Now we have to turn our attention to the draft with yet another late lottery pick, and we turn into Pelicans fans to see if we can maybe get their pick too.