Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Sunday’s home game vs. Atlanta Hawks

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Sunday’s 105-101 Hornets’ home loss to the Atlanta Hawks that dropped Charlotte to 27-25 overall:

… A sluggish Sunday afternoon slow start proved the Hornets undoing as Atlanta took a 33-20 lead after the first quarter that including a game-high 17-point advantage at 24-7 with 4:15 left in the period. “We struggled to score early on,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “We had a rough first quarter.”

… Charlotte did regain its footing, led 77-75 after three quarters and was ahead 92-82 with 7:16 to play. Atlanta outscored the Hornets 23-9 the rest of the game to give Charlotte’s first loss of the season after it led after three quarters; The Hornets are now 22-1 in games in which they lead after three quarters. “I feel like we were making silly mistakes,” Hornets forward Miles Bridges said. “We usually don’t make mistakes in late-game situations.”

… Trailing 103-101 in the closing seconds, when Charlotte rebounded, Borrego didn’t call a timeout and the team ran a play that resulted in Terry Rozier’s missed 3-pointer. “We got a stop, had them on their heels,” Borrego said. “The ball found the most clutch guy we have right now, and I trust him – I trust him. I’ll just leave that there.”

… Already without three key players in guards LaMelo Ball (right wrist), Malik Monk (right ankle) and Gordon Hayward (right foot) due to injuries, the Hornets lost Jalen McDaniels (face lacerations) for a brief time in the first half on Sunday and lost P.J. Washington (right ankle) for the game in the third quarter. Borrego didn’t have an update on Washington’s condition after the game.

… Atlanta entered the game with its own set of injury issues as Trae Young (left calf), John Collins (left ankle), Tony Snell (right ankle), D’Andre Hunter (right knee) and Cam Reddish (right Achilles) didn’t play in Sunday’s game.

… The Hawks’ victory moved them into sole possession of fourth place of the Eastern Conference and continued their hot streak that began under interim head coach Nate McMillan. McMillan, a former Raleigh Enloe High, Chowan and N.C. State standout, has guided Atlanta to a 15-5 record since being hired on March 1. McMillan, in his 17th season as a NBA head coach, recently moved into the top 20 of NBA head coaching winners.

… Bogdan Bogdanovic had 32 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, to lead Atlanta. Clint Capela added 20 points and 15 rebounds. And Lou Williams had 13 points off the bench, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

… The 6-foot-6 Bridges is one of the NBA’s most explosive and dynamic dunkers. And he had one of those in the fourth quarter when he drove down the lane and dunked over the 6-10 Capela. “Honestly, I just be jumping, man,” Bridges said. “I see what I do when I get in the air. I knew Clint (Capela) was a shot blocker so when Cody (Zeller) passed the ball and I got past (Bogdan) Bogdanovic, I didn’t know if I was going to lay the ball up or not. But I knew if I laid it up, he’d block it, so I just went up and tried to put it in the rim, and that’s what happened.”

What’s next: The Hornets host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday at 8 p.m.