Hawks' 19-game winning streak ends in loss to Pelicans
Paul Millsap and his Atlanta teammates didn't sound terribly concerned about the end of the Hawks' franchise-record 19-game winning streak.
After all, the Hawks' 115-100 loss to surging New Orleans on Monday night -- in a game marked by Anthony Davis' ferocious play -- was only Atlanta's third defeat in 36 games.
"We've got a lot of season left," Millsap said when asked to put the recent winning streak in perspective. "Nineteen games, that's good. We lost one -- 19-1 now. So it's just regrouping. ... We can't let one loss turn into two losses."
Davis, returning from a left groin strain that sideline him one game, had 29 points and 13 rebounds to help the Pelicans win for the sixth time in seven games. New Orleans' recent run of good form has included victories over other contending squads, such as Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers, and has pulled the Pelicans (26-22) within a game of Phoenix (28-22) for eighth place in the Western Conference.
"We just need to continue to do what we've been doing," Davis said. "The past couple games, we've been rebounding, defending, sharing the ball. We don't care who scores. That's what we have to do."
That sounds a lot like the recipe Atlanta has been using to pile up an Eastern Conference-leading 40 victories.
"They had us on our heels from the very beginning," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They deserve a lot of credit for us not starting well.
"Give our guys a lot of credit for a lot of good work over the last month," Budenholzer added. "Tonight wasn't out night. I am very proud of them. We'll get back to work."
Jeff Teague scored 21 for Atlanta, but the Hawks fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and trailed the rest of the way, getting within single digits for only a few brief stints.
Eric Gordon scored 20 points for New Orleans, while Tyreke Evans scored 15 points and tied a season high with 12 assists for the fourth time in five games.
Millsap had 15 points and Kyle Korver 12 for the Hawks, who made only seven of 22 3-point attempts.
Omer Asik grabbed 17 rebounds for New Orleans, which outrebounded Atlanta 52-32. Davis grabbed eight of his rebounds on the offensive end, including one on a missed 3 that he corralled with his right hand and slammed home in one roundhouse motion.
Ryan Anderson added 15 points for the Pelicans, who outshot Atlanta, 50 percent (43 of 86) to 44.9 percent (40 of 89).
Atlanta briefly got as close as seven in the third quarter when DeMarre Carroll, returning from a strained left Achilles that sidelined him two games, hit back-to-back 3s to make it 60-53.
But New Orleans kept scoring, and soon after went back up by 12 when Evans banked in a 3 late in the shot clock.
Gordon's minutes were limited by foul trouble, but his backup, Jimmer Fredette, responded to additional minutes with 10 points, including a 3 that put the Pelicans up by 17 in the fourth quarter. Soon after, Asik's putback dunk gave New Orleans its largest lead at 101-82 and sent the crowd into a frenzy, sensing there was no way Atlanta could recover during the last 6:03.
Hawks: Carroll played 23 minutes and finished with six points in his return. ... Atlanta came in having won 12 straight against Western Conference opponents and 12 straight on the road. ... The Hawks failed to hit 10 3s for only the second time in 16 games. ... Al Horford, who had eight points, shot below 50 percent for the first time in 10 games.
Pelicans: Davis had 19 points by halftime, when New Orleans led 55-42. ... Davis has scored at least 20 in 11 straight games. ... The Pelicans improved to 17-6 at home. ... Gordon has had at least 20 points and seven assists in two straight games for the first time in his career.
The Hawks had looked a bit shaky in their previous victory over struggling Philadelphia, blowing a 21-point lead before escaping 91-85.
In the first half in New Orleans, Atlanta shot 37.8 percent (17 of 45), including 2 of 14 from 3-point range as New Orleans opened a 13-point lead.
"We were a little off, but that happens in games. We were due for one, but (New Orleans) just played well," Teague said.
Hawks: host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.