Hawks cruise to 132-103 play-in run with Trae Young and De'Andre Hunter, who are chasing the Hornets

Hawks cruise to 132-103 play-in run with Trae Young and De'Andre Hunter, who are chasing the Hornets ...

Trae Young bounced back from a sluggish start to score 24 points, while De'Andre Hunter led the Atlanta Hawks to a 132-103 victory against the Charlotte Hornets in a Eastern Conference play-in game Wednesday night.

The Hawks, who scored a stunning career to the conference final just a year ago, will travel to Cleveland on Friday night.

The winner claims the No. 8 spot in the East and will play the top-seeded Miami Heat in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Hornets, who were surpassed in the 9-10 play-in game for the second year in a row, haven't made the playoffs since 2016.

As did Bogdan Bogdan Bogdanovic off the bench, the all five Atlanta starters scored in double figures. Hunter was the only person to come up big in the decisive third period, finishing with 16 points after being held to three in the first half.

Hunter surpassed 22 points, while Danilo Gallinari added 18 points, while Clint Capela added 15. Kevin Huerter and Bogdanovic sped in with 13 points.

The Hornets finished the regular season strong and felt like they had a good chance to win a couple of play-in games on the road. However, those hopes came down against their I-85 rival.

LaMelo Ball led with 26 points, but only seven shots were made.

In the first half, the Hawks gained as many as 13 points before settling for a 60-52 victory. Charlotte had a bit of success in the closing minutes of the half, although it was certain that the third was avoided.

During the 12-minute barrage, the Hawks outscored the Hornets 42-24, shooting 16 of 24 shots, and leading 102-76 in the final period.

Young made only one of nine shots in the first quarter and three of 13 in the first half as the Hornets doubled at every opportunity.

He and his teammates found plenty of open eyes, making the Hornets pay very much.

Charlotte should have known what kind of night it would be on their way to the State Farm Arena.

A freight train halted at a downtown sports complex blocked the Hornets' chartered bus. It had to turn around and take a different route to the arena, causing Charlotte to be delayed for pregame warmups.

Once the game got blown off, it didn't get much better.

When Miles Bridges complained so vehemently about a goaltending call that he picked up two quick technicals and was ejected, the Hornets' frustration boiled down.

TIP INS

Terry Rozier scored 21 points in the Hornets..... Charlotte came down 38.5 percent as a team in the field.

Hawks: F John Collins (sprained foot and sprained finger) has increased training but wasn't able to play. His hasn't been in a game since March 11.... G Lou Williams also was inactive with lower back aches.

UP NEXT

During the regular season, the Hawks beat the Cavaliers 3-1, splitting the two games in Cleveland.

Paul Newberry, an Associated Press sports writer, has been a writer for the past seven years.

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