The Atlanta Hawks, finalists in the Eastern Conference last season, can still believe in the NBA play-offs. Wednesday, they clearly beat the Charlotte Hornets (132-103), during the play-in match, which opposed the ninth in the conference – their regular season ranking – to the 10th. The Hawks will be opposed on Friday to the Cleveland Cavaliers – beaten Tuesday by Brooklyn – to try to clinch the eighth and last place in the Eastern Conference in the play-off table.
Trae Young inconstant
Wednesday, Atlanta has never trembled against the Hornets. The Georgia franchise almost led from start to finish, including a 42-24 inflicted on Charlotte in the third quarter and a 33-point lead (114-81) in the last quarter (41st).
After a laborious first period (eight points, 3/13 to shoot, and three lost balls), Trae Young, the star of the Hawks, raised his level, during the third quarter, his 14 points contributing to the breakaway of his team. He nevertheless finished on a mediocre 8/24 (including 1/7 from three points), for a total of 24 points, supplemented by 11 assists.
Hunter and Capela decide
“It took me a while to get going, Young commented. But my teammates did a hell of a job to compensate. We have plenty of guys who can take the game on their own at any point in a match. “Atlanta has indeed been able to rely on DeAndre Hunter (22 points, seven rebounds) and Clint Capela (15 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks). Frenchman Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot also contributed to the Hawks’ victory, scoring eight points and five rebounds in 16 minutes on the floor.
On the Charlotte Hornets side, LaMelo Ball scored 26 points, but was clumsy in shooting (7/23). Terry Rozier, for his part, scored 21 points. The North Carolina franchise season ended Wednesday. The Hawks will therefore return on Friday. If they win against Cleveland, they will then challenge the Miami Heat, the best team in the East, in the first round of the play-offs.