THE Charlotte Hornets kept their playoff hopes alive in taking down the slumping Atlanta Hawks, 105-90, Spectrum Center on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
The Hornets took charge after a tied game in the first quarter with an 18-2 start in the second period to take a 34-21 lead. Atlanta got as close as six, 61-55, early in the third before Charlotte again pulled away with another 13-2 blast.
An 8-0 start in the fourth extended the Hornets advantage to 22 and took the fight away from the Hawks as the Hornets lead never dipped below 15 the rest of the way.
Kemba Walker and Nic Batum led the way for the Hornets, winners of two straight to improve to 31-39, with 16 points apiece. Frank Kaminsky chipped in 14 markers off the bench, while Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lamb scored 13 and 12, respectively.
The Hornets are three games below the eighth-seed Detroit Pistons in the East standings.
Dennis Schroder had 20 points, while Dwight Howard and Ersan Ilyasova each scored 13 for the Hawks, who have lost four in a row to fall to 31-39. Tim Hardaway Jr., Thabo Sefolosha and Taurean Prince had 11 points apiece.