The Hawks notched their fourth straight win with a 97-83 victory
over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night, rallying from a 10-point
first-half deficit by outscoring the Bobcats 51-31 in the second
The victory further distanced the Hawks from a dreadful 1-14 stretch
that had dropped them all the way to the No. 8 spot in the Eastern
Conference standings, and it allowed them to move to within 1 1/2
games of the Bobcats in the race for seventh.
Forward Paul Millsap led the way with 28 points, including 17 of 19
Atlanta points in one stretch of the second half. He said afterward
that the second-half performance was one of the team's best of the
"It feels great," Millsap said. "I feel like this is one of the
better second halves we've had all year. The intensity was
definitely there. The focus was definitely there. We came out and we
executed well. That's what we need moving forward, to continue to
play like this."
The win moved the Hawks' record to 30-35. It was also their 11th
straight victory over the Bobcats going back the past three seasons.
"This is a big win," Atlanta guard Kyle Korver said. "We had a tough
February but this team kept fighting every day and we were there for
each other. We believe in each other. Everyone in this locker room
works, and when you watch each other work, you pull for each other.
We've got a close-knit team here and it is showing."
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer credited defense for the victory. In
addition to holding the Bobcats to 31 second-half points, the Hawks
limited Charlotte to 35.3 percent shooting. Charlotte guard Kemba
Walker scored 20 points but was 7-of-18 from the field, with only
five points in the second half. And Bobcats center Al Jefferson, who
was named Eastern Conference player of the week earlier in the day,
was held to 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
Charlotte, which led 52-46 at halftime, went 11-of-38 from the field
in the second half.
"We've been talking about improving our defense going down the
stretch here," Budenholzer said. "The activity and the effort and
the commitment on the defensive end allowed us to beat a very, very
good team tonight. That's something that we just want to continue to
build on and improve as we go down the stretch. That was the
challenge tonight. We didn't want it to become a high-scoring game."
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Millsap's 28 points came on 12-of-20 shooting and included two
3-pointers. The Hawks also got 11 points and 10 rebounds from center
Pero Antic, 11 points, nine assists and six rebounds from guard Jeff
Teague, and 10 points each from Korver and forward Mike Scott.
The Bobcats had won four straight and six of their previous seven.
They also had an eight-game home winning streak snapped.
They are now 33-35, missing out on a chance to get back to the .500
"I think we probably caught them on an off-night," Budenholzer said.
"And that helped."
"We weren't getting the ball in deep where we needed to," Bobcats
coach Steve Clifford said. "We talked about it at halftime and then
we went out in the third quarter and just made mistakes, and that
got them going. You start making jump shots and everyone starts
thinking everything is OK, and once you lose that, it's hard to
NOTES: The Hawks entered the game with a 3 1/2-game lead over No. 9
New York in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
... This was Atlanta's third win of the season over the Bobcats, and
the second in Charlotte. The teams will also play in Atlanta on
April 4. ... The Hawks came into the game leading the NBA in assists
at 25.3 per game and had 27 assists on 39 made baskets on Monday
night. ... The Bobcats' 101-92 win at Milwaukee on Sunday gave them
14 road wins this season, a franchise record. ... The Hawks were
without C Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder surgery), C Al Horford (right
pectoral surgery) and G John Jenkins (lower back surgery). ...
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said that C Brendan Haywood (stress
fracture, left foot) will not return this season. F Jeffery Taylor
(ruptured right Achilles) is also done for the season. ... The Hawks
will return home to play Toronto on Tuesday. ... The Bobcats will
play at Brooklyn on Wednesday.
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