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AP

Marvin Williams and Marco Belinelli give Hornets edge over Hawks, 107-99

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ATLANTA (AP) Marvin Williams and Marco Belinelli each scored 19 points, and the Charlotte Hornets snapped a four-game skid with a 107-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Kemba Walker had 18 points and 10 assists for Charlotte, which grabbed control with a big second quarter. Cody Zeller finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points for Atlanta, and Paul Millsap scored 14 of his 20 points in the third quarter. Dwight Howard grabbed a season-high 23 rebounds, three shy of his career best.

The Hawks have lost five of six at home and 12 of 16 overall, a freefall since starting the season 9-2 and tying for the Eastern Conference lead.

Millsap’s 15-foot jumper gave the Hawks a 95-94 lead with 3:51 remaining, but Belinelli answered with a layup, and the Hornets never trailed again. Williams ended the last trace of a threat, hitting a 3-pointer with 27.8 seconds left to make it a five-point game.

Charlotte ended its five-game road trip, all against Eastern opponents, with a much-needed win. The Hornets started the first quarter 4 of 16, but went on a 30-10 run to take a 12-point lead as the Hawks went cold in the second.

Atlanta went on a 13-1 run to pull within four midway through the third, and Hardaway hit a pair of free throws with 7:41 remaining to make it 87-86 for Atlanta’s first lead since the final minute of the first.

Howard and Zeller then had a minor scrape that resulted in technical fouls on both players.

SAGER TRIBUTE

The Hawks had a moment of silence before the game for Turner Sports personality Craig Sager, a longtime Atlanta resident who died of leukemia Thursday in his adopted hometown. Sager, an NBA sideline reporter known for his outrageous sport coats and ties, was honored with “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes and players standing on the court with the house lights down.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Walker returned after having an excused absence for a personal matter and missing Friday’s loss at Boston. … The Hornets had lost five straight and 10 of 11 at Philips Arena.

Hawks: Hardaway started his fifth straight game for Kent Bazemore, who recently missed two games with a knee injury. Bazemore had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes in his longest time on the court since returning two games ago.

UP NEXT

Hornets: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Hawks: Visit Oklahoma City on Monday.

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.