Hawks Sting Hornets


The Atlanta Hawks didn't need Isaiah Rider on Tuesday night.

Rookie Jason Terry, filling the void left by Rider's suspension, scored 22 points and the Hawks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 103-98 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

"I'm pleased the team gave that kind of effort with all the distractions that went on," said coach Lenny Wilkens, who then sent a not-so-veiled message to Rider. "We are a pretty good team. If you want to be a part of it, great."

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  • The Hawks lost all four games on a Western road trip to leave their record at 1-6, the team's worst start since moving to Atlanta in 1968. To make matters worse, the mercurial Rider failed to show up for practice on Monday, drawing a one-game suspension.

    But the rest of the Hawks stepped up to replace the player who was averaging a team-high 18 points per game. Jim Jackson scored 20 points, Dikembe Mutombo 19 and Roshown McLeod 18.

    "You've got to be professional about it," Jackson said. "A lot of things go on in life that you have to deal with, whether it's on the court or in the office. Nothing goes as smooth as you want it to be. That doesn't mean you can't go out and do your job."

    Terry, the Hawks' top draft pick from Arizona, came through with the best game of his young career.

    The point guard ignited the Hawks when he came off the bench with 5:12 left in the first quarter, scoring eight points and picking off three steals to help transform a 15-12 deficit into a 32-25 lead at the end of the period.

    Then, when the Hornets closed within 96-92 on Derrick Coleman's dunk with 1:43 remaining in the game, Terry took control of the Atlanta offense.

    The rookie hit a pull-up jumper in the lane with 1:25 remaining and, countering another basket by Coleman, drove into the lane to draw a foul from David Wesley with 59 seconds to go. Terry hit both free throws to seal the victory.

    "This is definitely what we needed coming off the road trip 0-4," said Terry, who also had five assists and four steals. "This is a start."

    Mutombo also had 17 rebounds and Alan Henderson pulled down 12, helping the Hawks gain a 49-39 edge on the boards.

    The Hornets remained winless on the road, losing their fourth in a row away from the Charlotte Coliseum.

    "There's a sense of urgency to really play well on the road," coach Paul Silas said.

    All five Hornets starters scored in double figures, led by Anthony Mason and Eddie Jones with 20 apiece. But the Hawks bench, led by Terry and McLeod, outscored the Charlotte reserves 50-18.

    "There's not one thing we're not doing," David Wesley said. "We're not shooting the ball well. We're not rebounding. We're not playing defense. We've been giving up a lot of points on the road."

    Notes

  • The Hawks have won eight straight regular-season games against the Hornets.
  • Rider has missed two of the Hawks' eight games, sitting out the opener after the death of his grandfather.
  • Braves outfielder Brian Jordan and Falcons running back Jamal Anderson attended the game.
  • The crowd was announced at 11,426 but the 19,000-seat Philips Arena appeared no more than half full. Some sections of the upper deck were virtually empty.
  • Hawks general manager Pete Babcock, when asked if he expected Rider to show up for practice Wednesday morning: "I don't know the answer to that. I hope he does."

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