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Young, Hunter star as Hawks sting Hornets



Trae Young scored 24 points as the Atlanta Hawks thrashed the Charlotte Hornets 132-103 to keep their playoff hopes alive on Wednesday.

A decisive burst of scoring from Young and De’Andre Hunter in the third quarter saw the Hawks take control against an outclassed Charlotte team at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena.

Atlanta will now face Cleveland in the final round of the play-in tournament on Friday, where a place in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs  — against top-seeded Miami — will be up for grabs.

“We’re clicking at the right time and this is the time to be clicking,” Young said after the blowout. “We’re a good team.”

After edging into a 60-52 halftime lead, Atlanta effectively sealed victory with a devastating third quarter performance, outscoring the Hornets 42-24 and racing into a lead that stretched to 26 points at one stage.

Hunter and Young combined for 30 of those points in the third quarter, Hunter scoring 16 and Young adding 14, including three from outside the arc.

Hunter finished with 22 points as Atlanta’s balanced offense once again shared the scoring around.

Six Atlanta players finished in double figures, with Danilo Gallinari claiming 18 points, Clint Capela chipping in with 15 and Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic adding 13 points apiece.

“It took me a couple of quarters to get going, but my teammates did a hell of a job making plays,” Young said.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can play. We’ve dealt with a lot of injuries this year but we’ve got a lot of guys who can step up and make plays anytime throughout the game.”

In Wednesday’s other play-in game, the San Antonio Spurs face the New Orleans Pelicans in another sudden death elimination game.

The winner of the Spurs-Pelicans game will advance to a clash with the Los Angeles Clippers for a place in the Western Conference playoffs and a meeting against top seeds Phoenix.