|Hawks flying high into Charlotte|
The Atlanta Hawks will seek to go 2-0 on their season-opening road trip when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.
The Hornets will be making their home debut, having fallen 102-90 at Detroit on Wednesday.
The Hawks were one of five road teams to prevail in 13 games on the opening two nights of the NBA season. That counts the Houston Rockets, who did so twice, sweeping Golden State and Sacramento.
Atlanta scored the final six points of its 117-111 victory at Dallas, its first opening night win on the road since beating the then-New Jersey Nets in 2011.
The Hawks are hoping to continue a recent run of fast starts. Their last six editions have opened 11-4, 12-5, 8-5, 16-6, 7-1 and 9-2.
Atlanta will be attempting to accomplish the feat this season with a fresh look, having gone their separate ways from standout big men Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard in the offseason.
Point guard Dennis Schroder led the way with 28 points, with newcomer Marco Belinelli adding 20.
"We play together. We move the ball on offense," Belinelli said. "We are a young team, but at the same time we know that if we can be aggressive, we can win games."
The Hawks have had a hard time doing that at Charlotte in recent years, suffering defeats in their last three visits and five of the last six.
Nicolas Batum was the biggest thorn in the Hawks' side in last year's Hornets home sweep, averaging 20 points and recording a double-double in the clubs' first meeting of the season in November.
The veteran won't be around to torment the Hawks for a while. He is expected to miss at least the first two months of the season with an elbow injury.
This time around, the Hawks will have to deal with old pal Howard, who had 10 points and 15 rebounds in his Charlotte debut Wednesday at Detroit.
Acquired from the Hawks in June for Belinelli and Miles Plumlee (the teams also swapped second-round picks), the eight-time All-Star already has made his mark on the Hornets.
"He's very determined: a) that we win; and b) that he plays at a high level," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. "I think he understands that the correlation between those two things will be strong."
Howard contributed 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game to the Hawks' 43-39 season a year ago. Atlanta was eliminated by Washington in the first round of the Eastern playoffs.
The Hornets have made the playoffs only three times since entering the league as the Bobcats as an expansion team in 2004. They have never won a playoff series.
The game also features a matchup of highly regarded rookies.
Wake Forest's John Collins came off the bench to put up 14 points in Atlanta's win at Dallas.
Meanwhile, Florida State's Dwayne Bacon made his NBA debut as a starter for the Hornets, scoring eight points in the loss at Detroit.
Charlotte has dropped its last two home openers, beaten by the Hawks in 2015 and by the Boston Celtics last season.