Hornets Closing Out Homestand Against Atlanta Hawks
By Sam Perley
The Hornets will look to finish their four-game homestand with a 3-1 record as they host the Atlanta Hawks starting at 7 p.m. ET tonight at Spectrum Center.
Two-time All-Star Kemba Walker has been front and center for a Hornets squad that currently ranks second in the NBA in offensive efficiency (115.1), trailing only Golden State. Atlanta enters the matchup with the league’s third-worst offense (102.5), which could struggle to score against a Charlotte team that is now tied for 12th in defense (107.7)
Walker absolutely torched the Hawks last season, posting averages of 29.3 points on 49.3 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals in four meetings. The NBA’s current sixth-leading scorer also knocked down 24-of-41 three-point attempts against Atlanta in 2017-18, good for an eye-popping conversion rate of 58.5 percent.
Walker will be opposite this summer’s fifth overall pick in Trae Young. The rookie currently leads the Hawks in scoring (19.1 PPG) and sits sixth in the NBA in assists (7.9), although has been lacking in efficiency from three-point range (32.1 percent). Keeping the 20-year-old confined to the long-distance shots will likely be a defensive focal point for the Hornets.
Interesting Note – The Hornets have won five straight meetings with the Hawks at Spectrum Center, which is a streak that began on Jan. 13, 2016. Charlotte has scored 108.4 PPG during this stretch and allowed just 94.2 PPG.
Classic Fact – Robert Reid scored 28 points off the bench in the Hornets’ first-ever win over the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 9, 1989. This was the highest-scoring performance by a Charlotte reserve other than Dell Curry until Brad Miller finished with 32 points in Boston on May 5, 1999.