CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Larry Brown has a rule that if you don't play 20 minutes in a preseason game, you have to do extra conditioning before you go home.
May's slow recovery from microfracture surgery on his right knee is the most alarming aspect of the Bobcats' 0-5 preseason as Brown begins his record ninth NBA head coaching job. May was limited to six points and four rebounds on 2-of-7 shooting in the Atlanta Hawks' 102-96 win.
"We've got to get Sean in better shape. That's really critical," Brown said.
"I expected to come out of the game and be putting up 15 (points) and nine (rebounds) right now," said May, the 13th pick in the 2005 draft. "But I'm fine. I think every game I'm getting better and my wind is getting better. I felt a lot better tonight, even though my numbers weren't great. I felt I was moving better. It's just going to take some time."
But with a thin roster of big men, the Bobcats need May to get healthy soon. He's penciled in to start at power forward despite playing in only 58 games in three seasons because of his knee.
"My goal is by the first game, to be able to do the things Coach asks of me and my teammates ask of me, because it's unfair to them to have to wait on me," May said. "I've got a lot of work to do in a short period of time, but I'm up for it."
With both teams keeping their starters in the closing moments of the exhibition game, Bibby outscored Jason Richardson, who had seven of his 17 points in the final 2:40.
Flip Murray came off the bench to score 18 for Atlanta (4-2), which overcame spotty shooting, plenty of foul trouble and growing pains with its new, bigger lineup.
"We already have a solid starting unit, so I feel my job is to make a strong impact off the bench," Murray said.
Emeka Okafor had 18 points and 11 rebounds, but got little help up for the frontcourt-deficient Bobcats (0-5), whose disjointed offense produced 20 turnovers.
With small forward Marvin Williams missing his second straight game with a sprained left thumb, Hawks coach Mike Woodson again started a big lineup featuring Zaza Pachulia at center, moving Al Horford to power forward and Josh Smith to small forward.
But it was Atlanta's outside shooting -- and smaller lineup -- that shined.
Making nine of its first 13 3-point shots and with Johnson schooling Richardson on the perimeter, Atlanta built as much as a 10-point lead.
Still, the Hawks were far from efficient. They committed 20 turnovers and Smith had a miserable night. Limited to three points on 1-of-6 shooting in 16 minutes, Smith fouled out with 8:21 left, then picked up a technical foul on the way to the bench.
"We mixed and matched things up tonight with Josh in foul trouble," Woodson said. "He barely played, and it was nice to see Flip and Mo (Evans), they been solid all camp."
The Bobcats played without forward Adam Morrison, who developed tendinitis in his surgically repaired left knee over the past couple of days and struggled in the morning shootaround.
May, who also missed all of last season, has struggled to grab rebounds and defend. But Brown has few other options at power forward.
"Knowing that we're not very deep and they're going to rely on me, I've got to produce," May said. "I challenge myself and I'm for that challenge."
Hawks G Mario West (sprained left ankle) did not play. ... Brown said he'll start playing his starters more minutes next week, when the Bobcats close the preseason with three games on the West Coast. ... F Justin Williams had 2 points and 4 rebounds in 4 minutes, all in the fourth quarter, in his Charlotte debut. ... It's the preseason for the referees, too. After incorrectly ruling a loose ball foul an offensive foul in the second quarter, the officials discovered the error and had Wallace shoot two free throws -- after 34 seconds of game action had elapsed. ... A minute later, Brian Forte hit Woodson with a technical foul.