ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks are confident they'll rise from
the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings soon.
Al Harrington scored 22 points, and Antoine Walker added 21
points and 11 rebounds to help the Hawks beat the expansion
Charlotte Bobcats 103-95 on Saturday night in a matchup of the
Eastern Conference's two worst teams.
"We know we're not the worst team," Walker said. "We're much
better than 7-26."
The Hawks led 88-65 with 8:51 left to play, but had to survive a
late scare as the Bobcats cut the lead to single digits in the
Jason Hart scored 13 of his 19 points in the final period to
lead the comeback attempt.
The Hawks outrebounded the Bobcats 53-33. Charlotte's Emeka
Okafor, who ranks fourth in the NBA with 23 double-doubles, was
held to four points and six rebounds.
The Bobcats, who are 8-25, also were hurt by 9-for-20 shooting
on free throws as they lost their fourth straight -- and their 10th
in 11 games.
"Our situation is understanding what we do to be good and doing
that every night," Bobcats guard Brevin Knight said. "We've got a
young team. We really don't understand how to win, what it takes to
Hawks coach Mike Woodson used 10 players in the first quarter
and maintained that heavy substitution pace through the game. After
a loss on Friday night in Boston, the team's flight arrived in
Atlanta about 3 a.m.
And Hawks players were still talking about a rocky flight to
Boston on Friday morning that Woodson said ranked among the worst
he has endured as a player or coach. But Woodson said he was
encouraged by his team's energy, especially on defense.
"I thought our defensive effort was tremendous," Woodson said.
"I thought we had a little lapse in the last four or five minutes
when we had the young guys in. I just told them, `That's not play
time. You get a team down, you have to keep working to maintain
what you've done."
It was the Bobcats, who lost a home game to Memphis on Friday
night, who looked drained.
"We were outrebounded by 20, so you can see we're kind of worn
down," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "You won't win many
basketball games when you shoot 9-for-20 from the free-throw line
and get outrebounded by 20."
Harrington said Okafor "seemed like he was a little tired."
"He was not the way he usually is," Harrington said. "He's a
special player and strong as an ox. For the most part, we did a
good job of fronting him and not allowing him to make plays."
Rookie Josh Smith had 10 rebounds, eight points and three
blocked shots for Atlanta.
The Bobcats are 1-16 on the road, including 0-12 against Eastern
The Hawks kept their concession stands open and invited
fans to watch the Atlanta Falcons' home NFL playoff game against
St. Louis on the Philips Arena video board. ... Walker had his
seventh straight double-double for Atlanta. ... Charlotte C Jahidi
White wasn't in uniform for the second straight game due to neck
spasms. ... Boris Diaw, who averaged only 3.9 points in 18 games as
a starter for Atlanta, was the last player off the Hawks' bench,
coming in with 3:20 left to play.