The Atlanta Hawks did something seldom achieved this season; beating the Charlotte Hornets in clutch time.
The Hawks took a four-point lead with six seconds left on Bogdan Bogdanovic’s free throws and beat the Hornets 105-101 at Spectrum Center.
This was the first time this season the Hornets lost a game after leading at the end of the third quarter. Charlotte was previously 22-0 in those situations and has been excellent this season in close games down the stretch.
Bogdanovic finished with 32 points as the Hawks won the final game of the series with the Hornets. The Hornets clinched a tiebreaker over the Hawks by winning the prior two games.
The 29-25 Hawks passed the Hornets for outright control of fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets fell to 27-25.
Miles Bridges led the Hornets with 23 points and seven rebounds.
Observations off Sunday:
P.J. Washington has right ankle sprain
The Hornets lost starting center P.J. Washington to a right ankle sprain in the third quarter and he did not return. Center Cody Zeller replaced Washington, which had some value, in that 7-footer Zeller could match up better in size with Hawks center Clint Capela (6-10) than the 6-7 Washington.
Coach James Borrego also inserted former starter Bismack Biyombo at center. Biyombo hadn’t played in the prior two games.
Hornets starting forward Jalen McDaniels left the game in the first half with a facial laceration, but started the second half.
Trae Young missed this one for Hawks
The Hawks announced pre-game that neither star point guard Trae Young (left calf contusion) and forward Danillo Gallinari (right foot soreness) would both be out Sunday. That added to a packed injury report for Atlanta, already missing forwards John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.
The Hornets have had a string of games lately with opponents diminished by significant injuries. The Oklahoma City Thunder was missing guard Shai Gilgeous Alexander Wednesday and the Milwaukee Bucks were without reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and guard Jrue Holiday.
The Hornets have plenty of their own injury issues, with LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Malik Monk all still out.
LaMelo Ball starting some on-court work
The Hornets don’t know if Ball (fractured right wrist) will be cleared to play by the end of the regular season, but he has started to do a little on-court work with his right arm in a cast.
Ball, likely still the front-runner for NBA Rookie of the Year, did some dribbling and shooting (all left-handed) about an hour before Sunday’s 1 p.m. tip-off.
Based on the timeline announced when Ball had surgery March 23, he will be reevaluated sometime next week. Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak has said he’s hopeful Ball plays again this season, but that the Hornets won’t do anything that could risk Ball’s long-term health.
Hornets schedule friendly rest of way
Friday’s victory in Milwaukee completed a 4-2 road trip for the Hornets, who have an advantageous schedule the rest of the regular-season.
Sunday started a stretch run where the Hornets play 14 of their final 21 games at home at Spectrum Center.