ATLANTA -- After an atrocious 1-for-10 night at the free-throw line last week, Al Horford decided to spend extra time working on his foul shots.
"That's one of the things I always work on, and I got away from it a little bit," he said. "I think it showed when I went in that little slump."
His recent effort seems to have paid off.
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Gordon's straightaway 3-pointer with 29.1 seconds remaining cut Atlanta's lead to 92-91. The Bobcats got the ball back, but Sessions' inbounds pass from the left sideline was ruled a turnover after the officials watched replays and concluded neither Gordon nor Smith touched the ball, which bounced out of bounds on the other side of the court with 5.2 seconds to go.
"I think if I would've touched the ball, it would've gone in a different direction, which it didn't," Smith said. "It was a good call by the referees."
Horford, who finished with 11 rebounds, followed with two free throws 1.1 seconds later. Before hitting all three foul shots against Charlotte, Horford had missed 11 of his previous 12 attempts.
"I've been working on a lot and watching myself the way I'm shooting it," he said. "Now I feel confident, and tonight was big for me to make those shots."
In the fourth quarter, Gordon was 5 for 7 on 3s and hit all five free throws he attempted, but he wasn't able to give Charlotte the lead.
"I just tried to be aggressive and force the issue a little bit," Gordon said. "My teammates did a good job of finding me. That was pretty much it. It was a good night, but I much prefer to get the W."
With Gordon covered in the final seconds, Byron Mullens missed a 3 that would've tied the score at the buzzer. Horford was covering him tightly on the perimeter and challenged the shot.
"The look was awesome, couldn't really ask for anything better," Mullens said. "I knew I was guarded, but the shot felt great. It felt like I got hit a little bit on the arm, so I kind of over-pressed it and it hit the back iron."
The Bobcats were coming off 114-69 loss -- the worst in franchise history -- on Monday at Oklahoma City, but they led at the 2:34 mark of the second quarter when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's layup ended an 18-2 run that put Charlotte up 42-35.
By the 7:11 mark of the third, the Hawks led for good after Horford's three-point play made it 52-51.
Smith, who finished with a game-high 13 rebounds, was the catalyst for most of the third, scoring 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting and getting four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
"Just being active, being around the basketball, creating plays for myself and others, being patient and then when the opportune time comes for me to be aggressive, I took advantage of it," Smith said. "It wasn't necessarily play calls. It was just me being patient and playing to the flow of the offense."
Horford is pleased that the Hawks' reshaped roster, which includes the additions of veterans such as Williams, Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson and Anthony Morrow, isn't playing like recent Atlanta teams that often squandered games against less-talented opponents.
"These games, in the past, one of them we would've dropped if we didn't come out with enough energy and little things like that," Horford said. "I think this year we're doing a good job even though it's closer than we would like. But we're getting the wins."
|Al Horford and Lou Williams both score 17 points against the Bobcats to help the Hawks continue their winning streak. (US Presswire)|
|Atlanta (9-4) «||20||23||28||23||94|
|CHA:B. Gordon 26 Pts
CHA:B. Haywood 11 Reb
CHA:R. Sessions 8 Ast
|ATL:J. Smith 17 Pts
ATL:J. Smith 13 Reb
ATL:J. Smith 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|K. Walker, PG||38||4-15||5-6||5||5||0||15|
|B. Haywood, C||34||2-3||0-0||11||0||5||4|
|B. Mullens, C||29||3-9||3-4||9||0||2||10|
|M. Kidd-Gilchrist, SF||24||3-9||0-0||3||1||0||6|
|J. Taylor, SF||22||2-4||0-0||2||1||5||6|
|R. Sessions, PG||34||7-17||4-5||2||8||1||18|
|B. Gordon, SG||27||7-11||5-5||4||3||3||26|
|B. Biyombo, PF||27||2-6||2-3||8||0||3||6|
|D. Diop, C||6||0-2||0-0||1||0||2||0|
|H. Warrick, PF||Did Not Play|
|T. Thomas, PF||Did Not Play|
|G. Henderson, SG||Did Not Play|
|R. Williams, SF||Did Not Play|
|C. Higgins, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|A. Horford, C||42||7-15||3-3||11||6||1||17|
|J. Smith, SF||37||7-15||3-5||13||6||4||17|
|J. Teague, PG||28||4-10||0-0||2||5||4||11|
|K. Korver, SG||23||3-10||0-0||4||2||1||8|
|D. Stevenson, SG||21||1-5||0-0||4||0||3||3|
|L. Williams, SG||29||7-16||0-0||1||5||1||17|
|D. Harris, PG||24||2-7||1-2||1||4||0||7|
|Z. Pachulia, C||21||2-7||2-3||6||0||2||6|
|A. Morrow, SG||16||3-5||1-2||2||0||2||8|
|J. Petro, C||Did Not Play|
|A. Tolliver, PF||Did Not Play|
|I. Johnson, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Jenkins, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Scott, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|