It was fun while it lasted but the Atlanta Hawks (24-23) had their winning streak snapped at five games and, worst of all, it felt completely avoidable. The Hawks let a 19-point lead turn into a 122-118 loss to the visiting Charlotte Hornets who have now accounted for two of their 10 losses in 23 games at home in State Farm Arena this season.
The Hawks got a stop with the game tied only to have Jalen Johnson – who played less than 10 minutes on the night – get whistled for a foul allowing Charlotte to take the lead.
They also had an opportunity to get off the last shot with 0.8 seconds remaining only to have Trae Young commit a five-second infraction after failing to find anyone on the ensuing inbound play leading to a turnover and an animated discussion with head coach Nate McMillan.
But pointing fingers would dismiss what Young pointed out was a strong effort from the Hornets.
Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young tips cap to Charlotte Hornets frontcourt
“[Mason Plumlee]’s in the league because of his defense and what he does on that end,” Young said after the game of the Hornets’ veteran big man who had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the upset victory that came without star point guard LaMelo Ball. “And he’s really good on that end and brings a lot of presence.”
Plumlee was 11-for-14 from the floor and also dished out two assists with a block tacked on for good measure.
He tallied a 12-point, seven-rebound second half to help key the Charlotte victory.
“And then Mark Williams…he came in, he’s got long arms, and he was trapping and tipping some of the passes,” Young said of the Hornets rookie. And, if they don’t necessarily get the steal, somebody else will. They did a good job blitzing us.”
Williams, the 15th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, had just eight points but also recorded five boards and snagged three steals.
He was credited with holding his matchups to just 3-of-11 shooting on the night.
The Hawks had some standout performers of their own with Dejounte Murray continuing his hot streak while he bested both De’Andre Hunter and Young by one point to lead the team with 26 points in the game. They also had Clint Capela knock down a pair of clutch free throws and get the would-be game-winning tip-in.
They just left too much time on the clock. But where this game was lost, however, was in the backcourt as the Hawks let Hornets guard Terry Rozier go off for 34 points including the game-winning free-throws.
Atlanta hosts the Chicago Bulls who come in having won back-to-back games including a 132-118 victory over the reigning champion Warriors, though the two teams have split the previous meetings this season.