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Lance Stephenson's 3 lifts Hornets over Hawks in double overtime

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With 2.7 seconds left in double overtime and the game tied, an exhausted Lance Stephenson looked at coach Steve Clifford and said, "C'mon, Coach, draw me up a play."

So Clifford did.

Stephenson inbounded the ball to Marvin Williams, got it back off a handoff and knocked down a dramatic 33-foot jump shot off the glass at the buzzer to lift the Charlotte Hornets to a 122-119 double-overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

Stephenson, who had played 47 minutes, celebrated by racing to the scorer's table and leaping on top. He started pounding his chest as the teal- and purple-clad crowd went wild. Stephenson said he had hit shots to tie games before but had never hit a game winner at any level of basketball.

"For me to hit that big shot, there was a lot of emotion that came out," Stephenson said. "I got real hyped."

When asked whether he called "bank," Stephenson laughed and said, "I can't hit a swish yet, so I tried to throw it off the backboard, and it went in."

Stephenson registered his first double-double with the Hornets, finishing with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

"I haven't made a shot all season long," said Stephenson, who went into the game shooting 26.7 percent in his first five games with his new team. "Hopefully that will give me more confidence to keep hitting more shots."

Al Jefferson scored a season-high 34 points and Gary Neal added 23 points off the bench as the Hornets (3-3) beat the Hawks in Charlotte for the first time since 2011, snapping a six-game home losing streak to their division rivals.

Al Horford led Atlanta (1-3) with 24 points, and Jeff Teague added 22. Kyle Korver had 20.

The Hornets had a chance to win the game late in regulation when Jefferson missed a key free throw with 9.9 seconds that would have given his team a one-point lead, and they surrendered a six-point lead in the first overtime.

With the game tied at the end of the second overtime, Kemba Walker drove, lost his balance and threw up a shot that missed the rim, resulting in a 24-second violation with 2.7 seconds left. That gave the Hawks a chance to win it, but Korver was called for an illegal screen on Williams at midcourt, giving the ball back to the Hornets with no time elapsed off the clock.

The offensive foul on Korver left Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer a little upset.

"The league is working really hard to gauge when players were overreacting," Budenholzer said. "I think it may have been a case where Kyle set a good screen. That's part of the game. Calls go against you. I obviously don't agree with it."

It was an exhausting, physical game that took its toll on the players.

Jefferson said he was thankful Stephenson hit the shot when he did, saying he didn't think he could have played another 5-minute overtime period.

"Lance is as tough as nails, those New York guys," Jefferson said. "You see when he got the ball what he did with it."

The Hawks had a chance to win it at the end of regulation but Paul Millsap missed an 18-footer at the buzzer.

The Hornets had a six-point lead in overtime with 24 seconds left but managed to waste that away. Teague hit a driving layup and Korver knocked down a 3-pointer after Atlanta won a jump ball to cut the Charlotte lead to 108-107 with 12 seconds left in OT.

Walker was fouled on the inbounds pass and hit two free throws to push the lead to three. Mike Scott missed a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left, but the ball bounced off Walker, giving the Hawks -- and Scott -- another shot. This time Scott buried a 3-pointer from the right baseline on an inbounds play under the Hawks' basket with a hand in his face to force a second overtime.


Hawks: The Hawks have shared the ball well, entering the game averaging an NBA-high 26 assists per game. They had 28 against Charlotte.

Hornets: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous two games with a rib injury. ... The Hornets head out on a four-game West Coast swing that includes games against the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Suns and Warriors.


Rookie P.J. Hairston replaced Gerald Henderson as the first player off the bench for the Hornets and had an immediate impact, knocking down a 3-pointer from the corner and drawing a foul to complete a four-point play. However, those were his only four points in 12 minutes.


Hawks: Host N.Y. Knicks on Saturday night.

Hornets: Play at L.A. Lakers on Sunday night.