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Apr 10, 2024 8:21 am

Hawks out to end skid in home finale vs. Hornets

Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks can’t allow their first loss of the week to linger.

They have another chance for a course correction 24 hours later when the Charlotte Hornets pay a visit on Wednesday night.

The Hawks (36-43) continue chasing improvement to their placement for the postseason. They’ll try to shake a three-game losing streak when they play in their final scheduled home game.

“For us, the focus is to come out every night and compete,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “That’s the way you build a culture.”

Atlanta will be in the Eastern Conference play-in round, perhaps as the final team in the field. The Hawks are one game behind the Chicago Bulls and could flip positions to end up with a home game if they catch a few breaks.

Atlanta dropped a 117-111 decision in double overtime to visiting Miami on Tuesday night after rallying from a 12-point halftime deficit. Those teams could also meet in the upcoming play-in tournament, but the Hawks have other issues to address before any thoughts of a rematch with the Heat.

The Hornets (19-60) don’t have anything remaining that resembles an important game. They just wrapped up a 2-6 homestand with Tuesday night’s 130-104 blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

“For Atlanta, this will be a big game for them,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.

Clifford is moving away from his coaching position at the end of the season, but he’d like see something good happen while he’s still on the bench.

That wasn’t the case in the Dallas game, with the Mavericks leading by 18 points by the end of the first quarter.

“We just didn’t have any intensity to start,” Clifford said. “You can’t get behind like that.”

Dejounte Murray’s 29 points were tops for Atlanta against the Heat. The Hawks needed a few more.

“We had some makeable shots and they just didn’t go in,” Snyder said.

The Hawks turned to guard Vit Krejci for 32 minutes Tuesday night, largely because Jalen Johnson exited with an ankle injury. Krejci took three shots and didn’t score.

“When Jalen was out, Vit was (in that lineup),” Snyder said. “That’s not an unfamiliar ground for Vit. For Vit, we just want him to compete and be instinctive offensively. I couldn’t tell you any more about Jalen’s condition.”

Even with Atlanta All-Star guard Trae Young back in practice, he hadn’t been cleared to play as of Tuesday after surgery for a torn finger ligament.

The Hawks are 21-19 at home, losing two of their last three home outings.

Atlanta is 1-2 against the Hornets this season, with all the victories posted by the home teams. The Hawks won the most recent meeting by 132-91 on March 23 with Murray pouring in 28 points.

The Hornets have become vulnerable in the lane. Dallas had 16 offensive rebounds.

“It has been our biggest weakness all year,” Clifford said. “With all the different lineups we’ve played, defensive rebounding has been a big problem. You give up 28 second-chance points, it’s hard to win.”

Charlotte will aim to receive a strong closing stretch from guard Brandon Miller, who’s a three-time NBA Rookie of the Month this season.

–Field Level Media

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