Los Atlanta Hawkscon 24 points and 10 assists from Trae Youngcrushed this wednesday 132-103 to the Charlotte Hornets and met with Cleveland Cavaliers in the second and final round of the ‘play-in’in which the ticket for the ‘playoffs’ and the right to face the Miami Heat will be played.
In a cross between teams that in the regular season had had the same balance (43-39) and the four direct clashes had also been distributed, at the decisive moment the Hawks’ wardrobe emerged, in which up to six players finished above thirteen points.
In addition to Young’s 24 points, DeAndre Hunter scored 22 points (16 of them in the third quarter), Danilo Gallinari signed 18Clint Capela contributed fifteen and Kevin Huerter and Serbian Bogdan Bogdanovic each contributed thirteen points.
The Hornets closed out their season with a game that fell short of their performance in recent weeks, when they had won seven of nine games. LaMelo Ball contributed 26 points, seven rebounds and five assistsbut his team never managed to compete with the winning hunger of Atlanta, which also had the support of its public.
In a slow start for both stars, Ball on the Hornets and Young on the Hawks, it was Kevin Huerter the first to lead the Atlanta team con 10 points, and three of three in triples, which gave their team a thirteen-point lead at 29-16 in the first quarter. Clint Capela, with ten points and six rebounds in the opening quarter, scared the Hornets, in which Ball accumulated just three points and Miles Bridges, two.
It was Montrezl Harrell, with six points, to contain the momentum of the locals and PJ Johnson, with a three of four in triples, allowed the Hornets to stay eight points behind.
The Hawks led 60-52 at halftimedespite Young’s three of thirteen shooting (8 points), while Ball had nine for the Hornets, also shooting three of thirteen.
Hunter leads a spectacular third quarter
Supported by their public, the Hawks accelerated forcefully in the opening of the third quarter and increased the margin to 79-63 with a powerful mate from Capela that left the Hornets on the ropes.
James Borrego’s timeout tried to break Atlanta’s rhythm, but it didn’t work. DeAndre Hunter connected 16 points in the third period and Young and Bogdanovic, with a tremendous triple, increased the margin to 93-67, which left the Hornets sentenced.
After the eight points of the first half, Young scored 13 in the third period alonewith four assists, and the Hawks outscored their rivals 42-24.
It was a technical blow and also a psychological one for the Charlotte Hornets. Already frustrated, they opened the way for the Hawks to pick at his wound to the rhythm of Gallinari, who hit an excellent jump shot for his team’s wide lead at 110-79.
The ejection of Miles Bridges with 6:39 remaining was the last image of the season for the Hornetswho will already begin to focus on the new course.
The Hawks passed the first test of this ‘play-in’ with merit and will need another victory, this time away against the Cavs, to earn the right to challenge the Miami Heat, kings of the East in the recently concluded regular season.