Five observations from 122-119 loss to Hornets

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Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll

Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll (center) drives to the basket between the Hornets’ Lance Stephenson (right) and Al Jefferson (left) during Friday night’s game in Charlotte (Associated Press).

The Hawks let one get away.

Despite holding a lead for most of the game, the Hawks dropped a 122-119 double overtime decision to the host Hornets Friday night. Lance Stephenson banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Hawks fell to 1-3.

Here are five observations from the stinging defeat:

1. The Hawks couldn’t hold a late lead. They led by six points, 93-87, with 3:00 remaining in regulation. They were outscored 10-4 the rest of the way as the teams entered overtime tied at 97-97. The Hawks used a near-miraculous comeback in the first overtime. They came back from a six-point deficit in the final 24 seconds to force a second overtime at 110-110 when Mike Scott hit a 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left.

2. A referee call again cost the Hawks. With the game tied at 119-119 the Hawks had the ball with three seconds left and time to draw up a final shot. However, Kyle Korver was called for a questionable offensive call as the Hawks tried to inbound. The resulting turnover set up Stephenson’s improbable game-winner. The call comes two days after the Hawks lost to the Spurs on a questionable foul call, again on Korver, that gave Manu Ginobili game-winning free throws.

“My view of the foul on Kyle, I think the league is working really hard to monitor and gauge when players are overreacting,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said of the game-deciding play. “I think there may have been a case where Kyle set a good screen.”

3. Jeff Teague rebounded with a strong game. After being held to just five points in Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs, Teague finished with 22 points and 15 assists. Teague scored 20 and 25 in the Hawks’ first two games before the sub-par game. He abused the Hornets’ Kemba Walker for much of the night. Teague finished with his 17th career 20-point, 10-assist game.

4. Al Horford is getting more and more comfortable in his return. He finished with 24 points, tying his season high, on 11 of 16 shooting. His dunk with 54 seconds left gave the Hawks what appeared to be a comfortable three-point lead, 97-94, in regulation. Horford also added 10 rebounds. He had a key travel violation with 20 seconds remaining. The turnover gave the Hornets the ball with a one-point league. Al Jefferson was fouled on the ensuing possession and made one free throw to tie the game, 97-97, with 9.9 seconds left before overtime.

5. For the second straight game, Dennis Schroder got the bulk of the minutes at the backup point guard position – and did well for himself. Schroder played 13:52, including some fourth-quarter minutes, and finished with 10 points and two steals. Shelvin Mack played just 2:29. In other rotation items of note, Kent Bazemore did not play until 12 seconds remained with overtime after DeMarre Carroll fouled out. The Hawks also went without Elton Brand to help at center against the Hornets’ monster in the middle Jefferson.

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