Millsap, Hawks hold off Hornets, 117-114 in OT
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks looked ready for the regular season when building a big first-half lead.
The concern for coach Mike Budenholzer rose from his team’s inability to hold that high level of play.
Paul Millsap scored 21 points and the Hawks recovered after losing a fourth-quarter lead to beat the Charlotte Hornets 117-114 in overtime in an exhibition game on Monday night.
“We all need to get better,” Budenholzer said of his team “playing significantly below our standards” in long stretches in the second half.
The Hornets rallied to force overtime after trailing 99-91 late in the fourth period.
“I like the way it was fought to get back into it,” said Charlotte coach Steve Clifford.
Elton Brand’s jumper and two free throws by Thabo Sefolosha gave the Hawks a 116-112 lead. Brian Roberts answered with a jumper to cut the lead to two points. Sefolosha, who had 12 points, made one of two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining. Charlotte’s P.J. Hairston missed a last-second 3-pointer.
Kyle Korver had 17 points and Mike Scott, who had four 3-pointers, had 16 for Atlanta.
“We’re not putting together 48-minute games,” Korver said. “We’re really good in stretches almost every game, but we’ve had some really bad stretches offensively.”
Gary Neal led Charlotte with 21 points, including two free throws with 1:23 remaining in regulation for a 103-101 advantage — the Hornets’ first lead since late in the opening period.
Cody Zeller had 18 points and Kemba Walker had 17 for Charlotte. Hairston had 11.
“I feel like everything is coming a lot easier to me now,” said Hairston, who was acquired from Miami in the offseason. “When I first got here there was a lot of stuff I needed to learn.”
A basket by Korver and free throw by Millsap gave Atlanta a 104-103 lead. The Hornets pulled even when Zeller made one of two free throws with 15 seconds remaining. Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll missed a long jumper at the end of regulation.
The Hawks led 58-43 at halftime but were outscored 34-24 in the third period.
The Hornets were without three starters. Al Jefferson rested while Marvin Williams (right elbow contusion) and Lance Stephenson (groin) also were held out. Gerald Henderson (right hamstring) missed his seventh straight preseason game.
Atlanta’s Al Horford had 10 points with six rebounds. He logged 23 minutes as his playing time increased for the third straight game in his comeback from a torn right pectoral muscle.
Hornets: Zeller fouled out in overtime. ... Neal had nine rebounds and seven assists as the Hornets took a 52-40 advantage in rebounds. ... Bismack Biyombo had five points and 10 rebounds. ... Roberts had 14 points.
Hawks: Atlanta had a 20-0 run that began with the last two baskets of the opening quarter and extended through the first 16 points of the second. ... Backup point guard Dennis Schroder had 12 points and five assists in 24 minutes while Shelvin Mack played only 12 minutes.
Hornets: Thursday night vs. Indiana.
Hawks: Wednesday night at San Antonio.