May 20, 2024

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Charlotte Hornets hand Atlanta Hawks heartbreaking 115-114 defeat

4 min read
NAILBITING WIN. The Charlotte Hornets edge Atlanta Hawks in a nailbiting 115-114 victory at the State Farm Arena on Wednesday night (April 11, Thursday, in the Philippines). CHARLOTTE HORNETS PHOTO

In a thrilling matchup at State Farm Arena, the Charlotte Hornets secured a narrow 115-114 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, spoiling Trae Young’s return from injury with a late-game heroics by Miles Bridges.

Young, who missed 23 games due to a torn ligament in his left pinkie, made a triumphant comeback by contributing 14 points and 11 assists in just 21 minutes on the court. Despite his impressive performance, Young was held out of the fourth quarter as the Hornets mounted a spirited rally to steal the win.

Young conveyed his relief and satisfaction at returning to the court, expressing that his hand felt good after the game.

Leading the charge for Charlotte was Brandon Miller, who erupted for 27 points, while Bridges added 18 crucial points including the game-winning layup in the closing seconds. The Hornets overcame an 18-point deficit, including a 92-77 hole at the start of the final period, displaying resilience and determination in their comeback effort.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who recently announced his decision to step down after the season, emphasized the importance of maintaining composure and executing possessions down the stretch. His message to the team paid off as they executed key plays in the final moments to secure the victory.

On the opposing side, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Vit Krejci each contributed 19 points for the Hawks, who suffered their fourth consecutive loss. Atlanta missed an opportunity to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings as they vied for a home game in the play-in tournament.

Despite Young’s return, the Hawks were hampered by a depleted roster with key players like Dejounte Murray, De’Andre Hunter, and Jalen Johnson sidelined due to injuries and rest protocols. The team relied on contributions from role players like Dylan Windler, who posted season highs with 12 points and four 3-pointers.

Young’s impact was felt throughout the game, as he surpassed his record for 3-pointers in a season with 233, showcasing his shooting prowess despite wearing a black brace on his surgically repaired finger.

Reflecting on his return to action, Young expressed a desire to gradually increase his playing time leading up to the team’s final regular-season game, aiming to regain full fitness for the postseason push.

With this victory, the Hornets snapped a two-game losing streak and bolstered their playoff aspirations in the Eastern Conference. 

Meanwhile, the Hawks continue to navigate challenges with a resilient spirit as they aim to secure their postseason berth despite injuries and setbacks.

The showdown at State Farm Arena highlighted the competitive nature of NBA basketball, showcasing the thrill of close games and the resilience of teams battling for playoff contention. 

As the regular season nears its conclusion, both the Hornets and the Hawks remain focused on their respective paths to postseason success, driven by determination and a relentless pursuit of victory.

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