Hawks sting Hornets

The Atlanta Hawks beat the Charlotte Hornets 103-76 yesterday morning (Singapore time) with 19 points and 12 rebounds from centre Dwight Howard to set up an NBA play-off date with the Washington Wizards.

The Hawks' fourth-straight victory assured them of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, guaranteeing they'll play the fourth-seeded Wizards in the first round when the post-season kicks off over the weekend.

"We've been here before," said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, whose team have endured a roller-coaster regular season.

"We need to stay humble, stay edgy and remember why we're playing better lately.

"Last four games it's been a simple message - compete, stay together - and the guys are doing that well."

Howard connected on seven of nine attempts from the floor as the Hawks beat the Hornets for the first time in four games this season.

Paul Millsap added 10 points and seven rebounds and Ersan Ilyasova chipped in 10 for Atlanta, who rested their key players in the fourth quarter. Thabo Sefolosha, who missed the previous eight games with a right groin strain, limbered up for the play-offs, entering in the second quarter and finishing with four points. - AFP


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