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NBA: Atlanta Hawks vs Charlotte Hornets | 14 February, 8:00 AM (PST)

Mary C

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The Atlanta Hawks continue to display signs of progress, and they will have another opportunity to do so against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night. The Hawks have triumphed in four of their last six games and two straight contests. Nate McMillan, the Atlanta coach, stated that "we need to go to Charlotte and take care of business." The Hornets are on a seven-game losing streak and have been kicked twice. "We need to go get that game in their building," they said. Charlotte is attempting to avoid going on a third consecutive eight-game losing streak. 

De'Andre Hunter scored 24 points to lead the Hawks in scoring for the first time in almost two months during Saturday's 125-106 rout of visiting San Antonio, though Trae Young added 24 points as well. This was a pick-me-up for me because I've been having trouble the last few games, Hunter said. Atlanta led by 64-46 at the half. "I work really hard, so seeing shots go in it always feels good." Having benefited from 20 Spurs errors, McMillan said, "That's the defense we need to play." Everyone increased the volume. 

It's been a season-long problem for the Hornets to figure out their defense. Particularly since center Mason Plumlee was traded last week, Charlotte's interior is being tested. Charlotte lost 119-105 on Saturday night as Nikola Jokic of Denver took advantage of the lane. Coach Steve Clifford said, "We should've put more stuff in to try to guard him. Rookie Mark Williams has started the past two games at center for the Hornets, a heightened role that should test his development. "That's my fault. We needed to have ways to keep him off balance, which we didn't," Williams said. The Hornets' situation against Denver was exacerbated by a disastrous third quarter. 

"We have to pay attention, get to know our opponents better, and not let them get into a rhythm," said P.J. said Washington. The Hawks, who are 1-2 in the season-long series, should be no stranger to the Hornets. The team's previous eight-game losing streak ended with Charlotte's defeat. In Charlotte's victory over the Hawks on the road last January 21, Plumlee had a 25-point performance and 11 rebounds, so that output will need to be replaced. Young has averaged 28 points in his three games this season against Charlotte, including a season-high 17 assists on Saturday night. 

The Hornets require more all-around production in the paint, especially now that some of their perimeter offensive resources have slowed down. They have only won three of their last 11 games when they have made 10 or more 3-pointers. Even though there are only two games left before the All-Star Game, Atlanta only has one road assignment during an eight-game stretch: the trip to Charlotte. Before the All-Star break, Hunter said, "We want to go 4-0." 

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