Murray’s Shooting Leads Hawks to 132-91 Victory Over Hornets

Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks, NBA News
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Dejounte Murray made a season-high seven 3-pointers while scoring 28 points, and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Charlotte Hornets 132-91 during Saturday’s NBA action to strengthen their hold on the final spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

Bruno Fernando scored a career-high 25 points, and Garrison Mathews had 20, each in backup roles. Atlanta opened a five-game homestand with its first home win over Charlotte since Nov. 20, 2021. The Hornets took home wins in the first two games of the season series.

Murray was 7 of 9 on 3s and set a season-high with 12 assists as he continued to handle lead point-guard duties in the team’s 14th consecutive game without injured All-Star Trae Young, who is still recovering from a finger injury.

“We miss Trae, but when you have a point guard like (Murray), it makes the offense go,” Mathews said.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks, Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets Updates

Following the last tie at 39-all, the Hawks closed the first half with a 27-9 run to lead 66-48 at halftime. Atlanta’s bench outscored Charlotte’s reserves 60-22.

The Hawks matched their season high with 20 3s, including four from Mathews. Coach Quin Snyder said Murray set the pace on 3-pointers.

“The way we were playing tonight, it starts with him,” Snyder said. “You saw it with the catch-and-shoot 3s.”

The Hawks are 5.5 games ahead of No. 11 Brooklyn for 10th in the East.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks, Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets Updates

Miles Bridges scored 27 points for the Hornets, who have lost four straight and 11 of 13 and were eliminated from playoff contention. Charlotte was close before falling behind in the second period, but coach Steve Clifford said he saw his team’s struggles begin in the opening period.

“It really happened in the first quarter,” Clifford said. “As soon as we started subbing, our intensity went downhill, and we really didn’t get it back.”

Brandon Miller scored 13 points, Nick Richards added 12 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, and Vasa Micic scored eight points, ending his streak of 10 consecutive games with double figures.

Young is the most prominent member of the Hawks’ long injury list. Onyeka Okongwu was held out after playing in the final two games of a five-game road trip. Okongwu missed 13 consecutive games with a toe injury before returning to the road. Snyder did not say before the game if Okongwu aggravated the injury.

Fernando helped fill the void left by Okongwu’s injury. To open the fourth quarter, Fernando tied his career-high 19 points with a powerful one-handed jam. Two minutes later, he set his career high with a jumper.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks, Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets Updates

Forward Jalen Johnson sprained his right ankle in Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He missed 16 games with a wrist fracture earlier in the season and is expected to miss at least one week with the ankle injury.

Next, the Hornets will visit Cleveland on Monday night, while the Hawks are set to host Boston on Monday night. This will be the first of two meetings in four days, with the Celtics visiting Atlanta again on Thursday night.

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