Shooting woes doom Hornets as Hawks soar to 113-91 win

Charlotte’s 91-point scoring effort was its lowest point total of the season

Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter, left, drives to the basket as Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr., right, attempts to block the shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. Oubre was ejected from the game after review of the foul. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Hornets, who entered Sunday night’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks as the NBA’s fourth-best 3-point shooting team, missed their first 19 shots from long range in a 113-91 loss at Spectrum Center.

Finishing with a season low in points scored, the Hornets (26-21) made only four of their 36 attempts (11.4%) from behind the arc — well below their 37.3% rate coming into the game — while Hawks (21-25) went 15 for 39 (38.5%) from deep in their fourth-consecutive win. 

All-Star point guard Trae Young scored 30 points for Atlanta and De’Andre Hunter added 20 and Kevin Huerter 11. Six Hawks bench players scored in the game, combining for 34 points.

“I don’t make any excuse for our defense because they (Hawks) were getting layups and 3s whenever they wanted,” said Miles Bridges, who had 19 points and six rebounds for the Hornets. “Trae did a good job of getting his teammates involved and he was on fire tonight, but I promise you we won’t go 11% again.”

LaMelo Ball scored 19 points with four rebounds and six assists, while P.J. Washington had 12 points and seven rebounds. Starters Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee and Cody Martin were limited to just 20 combined points on 8-for-24 shooting.

Charlotte starter Gordon Hayward was a late scratch from the contest due to a foot injury, just his second missed game this season.

“Missing Gordon impacted the game tonight obviously, but other guys could have stepped up,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We just couldn’t find those guys to step up, but we move on. So we’ll see what Tuesday brings us and move on from here.”

The Hornets found themselves down 30-22 after the first quarter but managed to score only 22 points in each of the next two quarters, failing to close in on an Atlanta offense that was firing on all cylinders.

Entering the night with the league’s top ranking in pace, points and offensive rating, Charlotte’s 22-point loss was a statistical anomaly following a stretch in which the team had won three games in a row and 10 of its last 13. With points at a premium, the Hornets’ second-half comeback efforts stalled out soon after they began. 

Late in the contest, Kelly Oubre Jr. was given a Flagrant 2 foul and a subsequent ejection when trying to block a dunk by Hunter. The Hornet sixth man finished with 12 points and five rebounds.

“I don’t play the game to hurt anybody. I don’t play the game to inflict pain,” Oubre said. “I play the game with a passionate energy. I saw that he had a wide-open layup, and I tried to go and contest it and I made a basketball play.”

The Hornets will have a day off on Monday and will then travel to Toronto (22-22) for a Tuesday night game against the Raptors, who have lost five of their past seven contests. It will mark the first matchup between the teams this season.