When the Atlanta Hawks came out for the second half against the New Orleans Hornets, they were tied at 40 but the Hornets had the more impressive first half, having a lead as big as nine points. Atlanta ended up finishing strong and winning big, with a final score of 97-68.
After they came out for the second half, they opened on a 21-1 run while the Hornets missed their first 13 shots of the half and were held to just three field goals in the third quarter.
Hawks guard Josh Smith, who led the team in scoring with 16 points and seven rebounds, said the difference was how the defense played in the second half. Via Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"We turned it up defensively," Smith said. "We picked up full court. We didn't gamble. We were able to get some deflections. We were able to get out on some fast breaks. When we got the rebounds I think me and Al did a good job at pushing it and finding the open man for easy transition points."
The Hawks, after being outrebounded 29-17 at the half, cut their deficit all the way down to one rebound by the end of the game, with the Hornets grabbing 45 rebounds to the Hawks' 44. They also held the Hornets to 32.9 percent shooting including 4-for-16 from three-point range.
The Hawks' next preseason game will be Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks at Philips Arena with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.