PJ Washington opened the scoring with a step back three. The teams traded baskets for most of the early going while the first storyline emerged—Jalen McDaniels picked up his third foul of the game with 6:41 left in the first. He would take seat and remain glued to the bench for the rest of the first half. The Hawks guards spurred a mini run after that point to push the lead as large as nine, but Terry Rozier and Bryce McGowens cut the lead down to six by quarter’s end.
The Hawks killed the Hornets with mid range jumpers throughout the first half. They made 7-of-8 non-paint 2-point shots in the first half. De’Andre Hunter himself had four mid range shots as part of a 13 point second quarter. The Hornets put up little resistance and let the Hawks get easy looks off most of their initial action. Things went from bad to worse as the quarter ended. PJ Washington fouled Trae Young shooting a running floating heave at the buzzer and Steve Clifford was assessed a technical during the free throws. Young made all four of the free throws to put the Hawks up 65-49 at the half.
A 5-2 Hawks start to the third gave the Hawks a 19 point lead, which would be their largest of the game. The rest of the third quarter saw the Hornets slowly creep back in to the game thanks in large part to five 3-pointers from Terry Rozier and some help from PJ Washington and Jalen McDaniels. Rozier scored 17 points in the quarter and got the Hornets to as close to two points, but the Hawks scored six straight to end the quarter and take an eight point lead into the fourth.
The Hornets made several pushes at the Hawks lead, but for the first several minutes of the fourth quarter, the Hawks always had an answer to keep the Hornets at arm's length. The Hornets finally strung together a 7-0 run to tie the game at 101 then took the lead one possession later on a Rozier three. The lead was shortlived though, as buckets by AJ Griffin and Dejounte Murray put the Hawks back on top. The Hornets responded with consecutive threes from PJ Washington, including one where he caught a loose ball on the hop and rose up for a jumper as if it was a pass intended for him.
After some misses from both teams, the Hawks brought the ball up with under 30 seconds left down by a point. They elected not to use a timeout, but Young was still able to get off a tough floater. The shot went wide, but Clint Capela tipped in the miss to put the Hawks up one with 5.1 seconds left.
The Hornets took a timeout to draw up a play to get the ball to Terry Rozier. He was able to get a look at a three and was run into by Jalen Johnson. He hit all three free throws with one second left.
The Hornets put the clamps on the Hawks ensuing inbound play to force a 5 second violation and seal the game.
Mason Plumlee and PJ Washington complemented Rozier's 34 points with 25 and 23 points respectively. Gordon Hayward chipped in 9/5/5 in his first game back from a sore hamstring.
The road trip heads west when the Hornets take on the Utah Jazz on Monday night.