Bobcats send Hawks to 6th straight defeat, 96-85
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Gerald Henderson scored 20 points, D.J. Augustin added 17 points and seven assists and the Charlotte Bobcats sent the Atlanta Hawks to the playoffs on a six-game losing streak with a 96-85 victory Wednesday night.
With no starter playing more than 25 minutes and only Kirk Hinrich (10 points) scoring in double figures, coach Larry Drew got the Hawks rest, but no momentum heading into their first-round game at Orlando on Saturday. Atlanta last lost six straight games midway through the 2007-08 season.
Closing a tumultuous season that saw a coaching change, a major trade and no repeat playoff appearance, the Bobcats built a 20-point second-quarter lead and withstood Atlanta's reserve-fueled second-half run to finish with a two-game winning streak.
The Bobcats put five players in double figures and shot 50 percent despite playing an eighth straight game without top scorer Stephen Jackson (hamstring). Dressing only nine players for the seventh straight game, the Bobcats earned a season split with the Hawks.
The victory came a few hours after a rare media session in which owner Michael Jordan insisted that "barring injuries we would have been in the playoffs." But Charlotte went just 9-16 after trading former All-Star Gerald Wallace, a deal that netted two first-round picks and opened salary-cap space.
"We don't have to sit on our hands this summer," Jordan said.
The Hawks hope their summer doesn't start early after an uninspiring end to the regular season. Atlanta took three of four from Orlando in the regular season, but were swept in a second-round playoff matchup with the Magic a year ago.
The good news is solid play from the same bench that staged a late comeback before falling to Miami on Monday. Josh Powell scored 16 points, Damien Wilkins and Jamal Crawford added 14 points and Jeff Teague had 10.
Good thing, because Atlanta's starters, which didn't include Marvin Williams, managed 20 points. Joe Johnson was held to two points on 1-of-6 shooting in just over 10 minutes.
The Bobcats took advantage of the Hawks' listless start in racing to a 21-8 lead and shooting 65 percent in the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 20 in the second quarter before Charlotte settled for a 61-43 halftime lead.
But suddenly the Bobcats' biggest problem all season — consistent scoring — was magnified in an ugly 13-point third quarter that included 7-of-19 shooting from the field as the Hawks get within eight.
With an all reserve lineup, Atlanta got to 78-74 early in the fourth quarter before Charlotte's suspect bench came to the rescue. Garrett Temple, an NBA Development League callup thrust into the No. 2 point guard job, hit a 3. D.J. White, acquired in a minor trade with Oklahoma City at the deadline, added a dunk and a jumper in a 7-0 run to put it away.
NOTES: F Boris Diaw played in all 82 games for a second straight season for Charlotte and extended his overall streak to 351 consecutive games dating to 2007. ... The Bobcats finished 21-20 at home, a season after going 31-10. ... Hawks C Jason Collins (ankle) missed his fourth straight game.