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Trae Young leads Hawks to a smashing play-in-game win over Hornets

ATLANTA — Trae Young bounced back from a slow start to score 24 points and De’Andre Hunter led a third-quarter surge that propelled the Atlanta Hawks to a 132-103 in an Eastern Conference play-in game Wednesday night Loss to the Charlotte Hornets resulted in .

The Hawks, who finished ninth in the East after a surprise run to the conference finals a year ago, will travel to Cleveland on Friday night to take on the Cavaliers.

The winner will claim the No. 8 East and face the top seeded Miami Heat in the opening round of the playoffs.

The season is over for the Hornets, who finished 9-10 in the play-in game for the second straight year and haven’t made the playoffs since 2016.

All five Atlanta starters hit double digits, as did bench Bogdan Bogdanovic. It was Hunter who came out big in the crucial third period, breaking out with 16 points after being held at 3 in the first half.

Hunter finished the tournament with 22 points while Danilo Gallinari added 18 and Clint Capela added 15. Kevin Huerter and Bogdanovic each contributed 13 points.

Trae Young, bouncing after a loose ball, bounced back from a slow start to score 24 points in the Hawks' 132-103 blowout win over the Hornets.
Trae Young, bouncing after a loose ball, bounced back from a slow start to score 24 points in the Hawks’ 132-103 blowout win over the Hornets.
Getty Images

The Hornets finished the regular season strong and felt they had a good chance of winning a few play-in games along the way. But those hopes crumbled against their I-85 rival.

LaMelo Ball led by 26 points but only made 7 of 25 shots.

The Hawks led by as much as 13 points in the first half before settling for a 60-52 advantage at the break. Charlotte had a bit of momentum in the final minutes of half but that certainly didn’t carry over into the third.

The Hawks outplayed the Hornets 42-24 during that 12-minute barrage, hit 16 of 24 shots and led 102-76 en route to the final third.

LaMelo Ball, who scored 26 points, drives to the basket during the Hornets' loss.
LaMelo Ball, who scored 26 points, drives to the basket during the Hornets’ loss.
Getty Images

With the Hornets doubling on every opportunity, Young made just 1 of 9 shots in the first quarter and 3 of 13 in the first half.

But his teammates found plenty of open looks and made the Hornets pay dearly.

Charlotte should have known what night it was going to be on her way to State Farm Arena.

The Hornets’ chartered bus was blocked by a freight train stopping at an intersection near the downtown sports complex. The bus had to turn around and take a different route to the arena, delaying Charlotte’s arrival for the pregame warm-up.

It didn’t get much better when the game tipped.

The Hornets’ frustration boiled over with about 6 1/2 minutes to go when Miles Bridges complained so badly about a goaltender that he caught two fast technicians and was kicked out.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/13/trae-young-leads-hawks-to-blowout-play-in-game-win-over-hornets/ Trae Young leads Hawks to a smashing play-in-game win over Hornets

JOE HERNANDEZ

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