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The Charlotte Hornets entered tonight as heavy underdogs. It was the last game of a long road trip and they were without LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee, Jalen McDaniels (all of whom are in the NBA Health & Safety Protocols). 

When at full strength, the Hornets average 114.9 points per game. They blew past that tonight, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 130-127. It's the most points the Hawks have surrendered this season and an indictment of their defense.

Although Trae Young had a cold shooting night, he still came up with 25 points and 15 assists. A few of those dimes were dropped to John Collins who continues his campaign for an All-Star selection. Collins tallied 31 points, 12 rebounds, and 1 baptism.

With little help coming off the bench, the Hawks starters played big minutes. To make matters more challenging, Young (left knee soreness) and Huerter (left quad contusion) were questionable coming into the game, then Solomon Hill left after four minutes with a hamstring injury. However, both rookies, Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper got 'DNP - Coach's Decisions'.

Despite the embarrassing defensive performance, the game went down to the wire. Both teams shot 17-37 (45.9%) from three. Both coaches played just nine players. The foul calls were nearly even. It's just the Hawks couldn't keep up with the pace. The Hornets were buoyed by Miles Bridges and Kelly Oubre Jr. combining for 60 points.

After the game, Coach McMillan tipped his hat to the Hornets offense and pace of play. "They do a good job of getting the ball and running out the net off a made baskets with their speed. They put five guys out there for the most part that can pass, shoot, and dribble. Which puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

A point of focus for the Hawks struggling defense has been staying in front of their opponent. McMillan said, "We did a good job of keeping them in front of us. But I thought we gave them a little bit too much space because they are guys who can shoot off the dribble."

Later in his post-game media availability, McMillan bristled at a question regarding the Hawks needing a wake-up call. "I don't understand that. We don't need a wake-up call. We know what we need to do out there. They were better tonight. We don't need a wake-up call."

A much more cerebral Young took the podium in a beige hoodie and relaxed demeanor. He credited the Hornets pace and free-flowing offense. "When everybody is playing free, it's hard to stop guys when they have confidence and they have nothing to lose."

However, a question about his shot choice put an end to his sanguine attitude. After a polite back-and-forth with a reporter, Young reiterated his belief that he believes his shot choices are best for the team. "I wouldn't take it if I didn't think that."

The Hawks (12-12) are traveling to the Land of 10,000 Lakes tonight, for their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (11-12) tomorrow. Check out the game day preview tomorrow morning. Thank you for your support of Sports Illustrated's

Hawks Stats Leaders

John Collins - 31 PTS, 12 REB

Kevin Huerter - 28 PTS, 3 REB

Trae Young - 25 PTS, 15 AST

Hornets Stats Leaders

Miles Bridges - 32 PTS, 4 REB

Kelly Oubre Jr. - 28 PTS, 3 REB

Caleb Martin - 19 PTS, 6 REB.

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