Hawks trounce Hornets to increase lead in play-in race

League: NBA

Posted on: 24 Mar, 2024 at 05:45 AM

Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Dejounte Murray had 28 points and 12 assists and Bruno Fernando came off the bench to score a career-high 25 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 132-91 win over the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.

The win ended Atlanta's two-game losing streak and sent the Hornets to their fourth straight loss.

Murray, who had his 15th double-double, was 7-for-9 on 3-pointers and added seven rebounds and five steals. Fernando added six rebounds and a block.

Atlanta's Garrison Mathews scored a season-high 20 points and Clint Capela had his 31st double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hawks (31-39) improved their hold on the No. 10 spot in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta has a 5 1/2-game lead over Brooklyn, which lost Saturday, for the final spot in the play-in tournament.

Charlotte (17-53) was led by Miles Bridges with 27 points and Nick Richards with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

The win was the Hawks' first in three meetings with the Hornets this season. It also ended Atlanta's four-game losing streak to Charlotte. The teams play again on April 10 in Atlanta.

Bridges kept the Hornets close by scoring 12 points in the first quarter, but Atlanta still held a 30-28 advantage going into the second. The Hawks grabbed the momentum with an 11-0 run midway through the second quarter that broke open a 39-39 tie. Atlanta, sparked by Fernando's 13 first-half points, led by as many as 21 points and carried a 66-48 lead into the half.

The Hornets scored the first eight points of the third quarter to complete an 11-0 run that carried over from the first half and cut the lead to 10 at 9:36. But the Hawks regained their footing, answering with an 8-0 run and eventually regaining their 20-point lead, 79-59, on a pair of De'Andre Hunter free throws at 6:35. The Hawks led 99-74 after three quarters.

The Hornets complete their four-game road trip on Monday at Cleveland. The Hawks play the second game of their five-game homestand on Monday against Boston.

--Field Level Media