The Hawks, just a half-game ahead of the Bobcats in the Southeast, can leave Charlotte all alone in the division cellar with a victory Saturday.
Atlanta became the first team in the East to reach 10 losses following Friday’s 117-99 home defeat to Orlando. The 117 points were the most allowed by the Hawks this season as they lost their fifth in a row. They are 0-6 when allowing 100 or more points.
“You’re not going to beat anybody in this league giving up 117 points,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “We scored 99 points; that’s plenty of points.”
Antoine Walker had 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists and Tony Delk also had 20 points for the Hawks, who shot 50 percent (38-for-76) from the field, but made just 60 percent (18-for-30) of their free throws.
Atlanta is the NBA’s worst free throw shooting team at 64 percent.
“It’s troubling when you lose a game like that,” said center Jason Collier after helping the Hawks outscore the Magic 52-36 in the paint. “We have to concentrate on getting back in the paint and stopping it there.”
After snapping a seven-game losing streak with a 91-89 home win over defending champion Detroit on Tuesday, the Bobcats blew a 17-point lead in an 82-77 setback at Indiana on Friday.
“Holding the lead has been a problem,” Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “I’ve said before that confidence has also been a problem.”
Okafor, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, is averaging 20.5 points and 13 boards over his last two games. He is shooting 59 percent (19-for-32) over that span.
Bogans has scored in double figures in five of six games since coming over in a trade from Orlando on Nov. 1. The second-year guard leads the team in scoring, and is shooting 54 percent (7-for-13) from 3-point range.