(SL) – Sadly, this past week the basketball world lost a legend. Beloved NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager lost his 2 year long battle with cancer. The Atlanta Hawks paid their respects before the game with a moment of silence and a touching tribute dedicated to the memory of Sager. Hawks cheerleaders wore bright, colorful Sager like T-shirts to show their respects, and Harry the Hawk even showed up dressed in his most outlandish getup, attempting to impersonate Sager whom will forever be known for his flashy and eccentric suits, as well as his cool, calm and collective sideline demeanor.
Saturday night the Hawks welcomed the 14-13 Charlotte Hornets to Philips Arena for the first time this season. The Hawks lost 100-96 back on November 18th when these two teams met in Charlotte. Since Atlanta last played Charlotte, the Hawks have only been on the winning end of 4 of their last 16 games, and unfortunately for the Hawks, the struggle to get back on track will continue as they also lost this game 107-99.
The Hornets held on to the lead throughout most of this game. The Hawks did make a strong push in the 4th taking the lead twice, but just weren’t able to maintain it as the Hornets continued to get key rebounds and keep the Hawks from scoring points when they desperately needed them the most. This made it nearly impossible for Atlanta to get any momentum going. Former Hawks forward Marvin Williams put the final nail in the coffin after making a 3 pointer with 27.8 seconds remaining in the game, to put the Hornets up 102-97.
At that point, in my opinion the Hawks chances of winning were obviously slim, but they still had a small chance nonetheless. Sadly, people throughout the entire arena began to leave the game. I’ve witnessed teams overcome larger deficits than this at that point in the game. My point is, I strongly believe that Atlanta fans have to have a little more faith in their home team, but that’s a completely different story for another time.
With this win the Hornets snapped a 4 game losing streak and moved to 15-13 on the season.
Despite taking another L the Hawks did play a decent game, it’s a shame that they couldn’t get the win to show for it. Dwight Howard continued to dominate on the boards, grabbing a season high 23, which is 3 short of his career high, and scoring 10 points. Tim Hardaway Jr and Paul Millsap led the Hawks in scoring with 21 and 20 respectively. With this loss the Hawks are now 13-14.
2016 is almost over, but this basketball season is really only just beginning, so the Hawks still have a fairly decent amount of time to figure out what this problem is and fix it so that they can compete with the elite teams in the East in the playoffs. The Hawks will be taking on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night in OKC.
By Kennan Johnson