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Recap: Hornets defeat Hawks in high scoring affair, 144-138

LaMelo Ball led the way with 30 points and 15 assists.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

LaMelo Ball finished with 30 points and 15 assist to lead the Charlotte Hornets past the Atlanta Hawks, 144-138.

Ball found PJ Washington streaking right down broadway to open the scoring in just a few seconds. Ball set up teammates for several easy buckets and scored seven early point as the Hornets got off to a very hot start. He finished the first with seven points and five assists. The Hornets hit the 30 point mark with 4-and-a-half minutes left in the first and finished the quarter with a 36-27 lead.

Both offenses stayed hot in the second quarter. Dejounte Murray carried the Hawks offense while Ball set the pace for the Hornets both as a scorer and a facilitator. Gordon Hayward had one of those super efficient halves he’s been having lately. He made three threes in the second quarter and finished the first half with 19 points. The Hornets as a team finished the first half with 74 points and led by six at the break.

PJ Washington started his second consecutive half with a driving layup for the Hornets. He followed that up a couple of possessions later with a nonchalant drive coast to coast for a dunk. Neither team put forth much effort defensively and there were several baskets that were reminiscent of what you’d see in an all star or pickup game. LaMelo Ball hit back to back 3-pointers from each corner and went 4-for-4 from behind the arc in total in the quarter. The Hornets finally played some defense down the stretch of the third quarter and held the Hawks without a point for the final 2:40. They scored ten straight during the stretch and took a 109-96 lead into the fourth quarter.

After LaMelo Ball dominated the second and third quarters as a scorer, he returned to the facilitator role he took on in the first quarter. He started the fourth quarter scoring with a mid range jumper to give him 30 points then went on to drop seven dimes. The first two of those came to PJ Washington from beyond the arc. The Hornets went a little cold in the middle parts of the fourth, and it allowed the hot shooting Hawks to cut away about half of the deficit by the five minute mark of the quarter. They further cut it down to one possession with just under three minutes to play.

The Hornets called a clutch timeout when PJ Washington was on the floor with the ball surrounded by Hawks with exactly two minutes to play. The after timeout play ended in a 3-pointer from Gordon Hayward to put the Hornets up five.

With the Hornets up three with about a minute remaining, Mark Williams got switched onto Trae Young. The Hawks guard tried to go one on one, and it did not work.

After a Trae Young layup, Ball found Washington for another three to put the game away.

It was LaMelo Ball’s 47th consecutive game with a 3-pointer made, which is a new franchise record.

Four Hornets scored over 20 points—Ball (30), Rozier (29), Hayward (26), and Washington (22). Mark Williams rounded out the starting five with 15 points while Dennis Smith had 12 points off the bench.

The Hornets wrap up their pre-All Star slate with a visit from the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.