Hornets face tough task defending Hawks' backcourt duo

The combination of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray will try to extend their early-season success and help the Atlanta Hawks remain undefeated when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

The Hawks are 2-0 after wins over Houston and Orlando, the latter a 108-98 victory on Friday. The Hornets, who beat San Antonio on opening night, are 1-1 after Friday's 124-112 loss to New Orleans.

Atlanta and Charlotte split their four-game series last season. Each team went 1-1 on their own homecourt. In the most recent game, Charlotte held Young to nine points and limited the Hawks to 39 points in the second half.

The backcourt pairing of Young and Murray,the latter was acquired in the offseason from San Antonio, have successfully blended together to give the Hawks the scoring depth they needed. Young scored at least 23 points in each of the first two games and Murray has scored 20 in both contests.

In the opener, they became the first pair of teammates in NBA history to dish out 10 assists in their first game together. They also became the third pair of Hawks to have 20-plus points and 10-plus assists in the same game.

The Atlanta defense, with John Collins and Clint Capela healthy, has been outstanding. The Hawks held Orlando to only 17 points in the fourth quarter.

"Our defense stayed with it and our defense showed up in the fourth quarter, holding them to 17 points -- enough to allow our offense to put some points on the board. We struggled for three quarters to find a rhythm," Hawks coach Nate McMillan said.

Charlotte trailed the entire game against New Orleans in its home opener and got as close as two points in the fourth quarter on Terry Rozier's running dunk with 7:23 remaining. But New Orleans outscored the Hornets 28-18 down the stretch to turn aside the challenge.

The Hornets got a near triple-double from Rozier, who finished with 23 points, a career-high tying 11 assists and eight rebounds.

"It's difficult, especially when it was like silly possessions that we gave away, silly fouls," Charlotte's Gordon Hayward said. "We put them at the line, they were able to silence the crowd, score the easiest way and most efficient way you can score -- and it's draining. But it's something we can learn from for sure and try to pick up some of the things they did, some of the tricky things that they did to get themselves to the line and utilize it in our game."

Hayward (23 points per game) and Rozier (23.5 points) have been Charlotte's two top scorers. Nick Richards had career highs with 19 points and 10 rebounds on opening night.

Charlotte has been without LaMelo Ball (ankle) and Cody Martin (quad). Ball sprained his left ankle in the next-to-last game of the preseason. Both could play against the Hawks.

Atlanta's Bogdan Bogdanovic (kneecap) has missed the first two games but could return on Sunday.

This the Hawks' third straight home game before they begin a five-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. The Hornets are starting a three-game road trip.

--Field Level Media