Notebook: Hawks 94, Bobcats 91

Posted Nov 28, 2012 11:32 PM

Matt Winkeljohn, for

THE FACTS: Ben Gordon hit five 3-pointers in a monstrous fourth quarter to nearly rally the visiting Bobcats Wednesday, but Josh Smith had a monstrous game with 17 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocked shots and three steals to lead the Hawks to a 94-91 win at home.

The rebounds, blocked shots and steals (tie) were season highs, yet Smith's biggest play might have come when he didn't touch the ball. He forced a critical -- and controversial -- Charlotte turnover late in the Hawks' sixth straight win.

Smith, Al Horford and Louis Williams each scored 17 points, yet the Hawks' sixth straight win was in doubt to the end.

Gordon scored 20 of his 26 points in the final period, when his heavily-contested trey with 29.1 seconds remaining pulled Charlotte within 92-91. The Bobcats trailed 90-81 with 3:01 remaining when they went on a 10-2 run to pull within 92-91 on the last Gordon bomb.

After Williams missed a trey for Atlanta (9-4) and the ball bounced over the backboard, the Bobcats turned the ball over when Smith altered Ramon Sessions' inbound pass.

Horford, who shot 2-for-13 from the free throw line in the previous three-plus games, made two with 4.1 seconds left to close the scoring.

Charlotte's last shot was a 3-pointer missed by Byron Mullens with about one second left.

The Hawks, who last won six straight games when they won their first 10 to start the 2010-'11 season, beat Charlotte for the second time in five days after a 101-91 win in Charlotte Friday. It was the sixth straight time Atlanta beat the Bobcats.

Horford added 11 rebounds assists, and the Hawks had just nine turnovers.

Charlotte (7-7) played better than on Monday in Oklahoma, where the Bobcats suffered the worst loss in franchise history, 114-69. Sessions scored 18 points off the bench, and Kemba Walker added 15 on 4-for-15 shooting.

QUOTABLE: "Playing a team that was coming off a lost like that . . . we knew they were going to give us their best game . . . they kept hanging around . . . I thought that team was playing harder than we were. They were bringing the game to us, and that is totally unacceptable in our building. . . . Josh Smith had a monster game."
-- Hawks coach Larry Drew.

THE STAT: +7 --- The Hawks scored 17 points off Charlotte's 17 turnovers while the Bobcats mustered just 10 points of a season-low (best) nine turnovers for the Hawks.

Last Friday in Charlotte, the Bobcats had a season-high 16 steals against the Hawks, and they entered the game second in the NBA in steal margin per game (+2.92 per game to the Knicks' 3.84). Charlotte had six steals Wednesday, the Hawks' nine.

TURNING POINT: Atlanta ran clock after Gordon's last trey only to end up with a poor shot. Williams took a 28-footer as the shot clock nearly expired, and it bounced high and over the backboard to give the Bobcats the ball.

After a timeout, Sessions was inbounding with 5.2 seconds left when Gordon used a screen to race from the paint out past the 3-point arc.

Smith left his man, Mullens, as he noticed Gordon slipping his defender. Then, the Hawks both caught a break and made a break.

Seeing Smith closing fast, Sessions led Gordon just a little too much with his pass and the ball sailed cross court and out of bounds without being touched.

Sessions didn't see Mullens rolling to the basket uncovered for what might have been an uncontested go-ahead dunk if he'd received the inbound pass instead.

Officials reviewed the play on video, and ruled there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the original call.

QUOTABLE II: "I just tried to be aggressive, and look for my shot. My teammates did a good job of finding me. I have moments when I'm in the zone. . . . I thought [Smith] tipped it, but the referees ruled it was inconclusive."
-- Gordon.

HOT: Gordon came off the bench to crank it up in the fourth quarter on 5-for-8 shooting. That included 5-for-7 from 3-point territory and he made all five of his free throws while adding three rebounds and a steal in the period. . . . The Hawks had the game under control well into the second quarter, but their 33-24 lead went away fairly quickly as Charlotte went on an 18-2 run. The Bobcats took a 45-43 lead into halftime, building their comeback on a 14-7 rebounding edge in the second period. . . .

NOT: Walker's 15 points were second-most for Charlotte, but he shot just 4-for-15. That's coming off an 0-for-6 game in Oklahoma City.

FANTASY NEWS: Sessions shot just 7-for-17 off the bench, but he scored 18 points and had eight assists. He has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 games, and is averaging 17.5 points over the past six games.

ROOKIE REPORT: With two steals Wednesday, Charlotte guard Jeffrey Taylor has had at least that many in five straight games -- 13 total in that span. . . . Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was well off his season averages with six points and three rebounds (averages are 11.0 and 6.4) for the Bobcats, and he shot just 3-for-9, but he had a couple explosive moves to the basket.

QUOTABLE III: "I think if I would have touched the ball, it would have gone a different direction, which it didn't. It was a good call by the referee. ... [I was] just being active, being around the basketball, creating plays for myself."
-- Smith

NOTABLE: Kyle Korver started at small forward for Atlanta, but did not play after exiting with 3:48 left in the third quarter with a sore back. He was held out of practice Tuesday for the same reason. . . . Bobcats center Brendan Haywood tied his season high with 11 rebounds. ... With seven defensive rebounds, Horford moved past Steve Hawes (2,244) into ninth place in franchise history with 2,247. ... Zaza Pachulia (1,152) had four offensive rebounds and is 10th in Hawks history behind Alan Henderson (1,153).

UP NEXT: For the Bobcats, Friday vs. 76ers, Monday vs. Blazers, Wednesday vs. Knicks. For the Hawks, Friday vs. Cavs, Wednesday vs. Nuggets, Dec. 7 vs. Wizards.