Just after Ersan Ilyasova had knocked in two clutch free throws in the fourth quarter, giving the Hawks a one-point edge in a back-and-forth battle, Atlanta again encountered the one factor that it couldn’t find much of an answer for all night.
The Hornets’ All-Star guard, beleaguered by trade rumors in the past week, knocked in a 3-pointer with 3:15 remaining to give the Hornets a 109-107 advantage they never relinquished, as the Hawks fell 121-110 to Charlotte on Friday night at Spectrum Center.
It was the Hawks’ second consecutive loss, their first loss away from home since Jan. 8 at the L.A. Clippers. Atlanta dropped to 14-34 while Charlotte improved to 20-27.
Walker led the Hornets with 29 points on 10-for-22 shooting, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
Walker spoiled the Hawks’ comeback from a deficit as large as 13 points, as Atlanta was led by Kent Bazemore’s 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting.
Bazemore had just three points in the first half, but knocked in 5-of-6 attempts in the third quarter to help fuel an offensive output that was two points shy of his career high.
Bazemore's free throws with 5:13 remaining gave the Hawks a 103-99 advantage that appeared to swing the momentum.
But Walker showed his first flash of what was to come with a 360-degree layup with 3:50 left that gave the Hornets a 105-104 edge.
After Ilyasova sank two free throws to give Atlanta a 107-105 advantage, Walker made his biggest basket -- and gave the Hawks their most recent heartbreak.