Court Vision: Hawks' loss to Pelicans halts winning streak at 19
Going inside the Atlanta Hawks' 115-100 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night on the road, their first loss in 20 games:
Any team can fall suspect to a poor shooting night. And for the most part, bad shooting leads to losses. But when a team is off the mark as much as the Hawks were on Monday, it makes top teams look awful.
Disclaimer: Yes, it was a bad night for Atlanta. Yes, the Hawks are still a top team.
Kyle Korver was the only starter that shot better than 50 percent from the floor. He was 5 for 7 (71.4 percent) and scored 12 points. The rest of the starting five went 21 for 49 (42.9 percent).
As a team, the Hawks finished the game shooting 44.9 percent from the floor and 31.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
New Orleans jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter, helped dramatically by the Hawks 34.7 percent shooting to start the game. Not only was Atlanta as a team passing up on shots that were normally no-brainer attempts, some of the shots taken were awful decisions.
Even uncontested shots were a challenge at times. The Hawks launched two three- point shots in the first half that ended as airballs, and by the time the game had ended, Atlanta had unofficially put up six long-distance shots that missed the rim entirely.
The Hawks, who ranked fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage entering Monday's game, could never really get any rhythm going offensively.
Because of a sore left hip, Davis missed the Pelicans' game on Friday against the Clippers. Since mid January he's missed four of his team's nine games.
After one game away, Davis wasn't rusty in the least.
Davis poured in 29 points on Monday and grabbed 13 rebounds. As good as it is to notch a double-double on the resume, that stat line doesn't tell the story at just how well Davis played against the Hawks.
Very early in the game, Davis took over for the Pelicans. He scored 19 points in the first half, and was extremely dominant on the glass with seven boards. He also showed both power and grace with the ball.
In the second quarter with New Orleans up by 10 already, Davis timed a leap perfectly after a three-point attempt bounced off the front of the rim and caromed off the backboard. As he came across the front of the rim from left to right, he grabbed the ball with his right hand and slammed the ball down as his weight propelled him toward the sideline.
A few minutes later Davis hauled in a pass while in midair, contorted his body to get a shot off and then smoothly banked in a deuce. His body control was amazing, as was the touch required to land that bucket.
Davis' 34 minutes on the floor were spent mostly hurting the Hawks with his scoring and rebounding skills. He leads the NBA in blocked shots with 124, but only had two on Monday. The Pelicans didn't need him to alter the Hawks' already-off shooting.
The Hawks 19-game winning streak dated all the way back to Dec. 27, 2014. Prior to that win, Atlanta dropped a contest to the Bucks by 30, and then went on a tear.
During their franchise best winning streak -- only five teams in the history of the NBA notched longer streaks -- the Hawks outscored opponents by 11.4 points per game on average. They also dished out more assists (+4.4 per game), stole more passes (+2.6), committed fewer turnovers (-3.0) and shot better in every facet of the game; field goals (+5.1%), 3-pointers (+7.1%) and free throws (+6.8%).
Streak that last as long as Atlanta's don't come without a bit of dominance over opponents.
The Hawks also enjoyed a 12-game winning streak on the road and a 12-game winning streak versus the Western Conference. Both those were interrupted by the Pelicans as well.
Atlanta had trouble from the three-point line, hitting only seven shots from long range. This was the first game in seven (and second in 16 tries) where the Hawks did not hit at least 10 3-pointers.
20: The Pelicans crushed the Hawks on the glass Monday. New Orleans grabbed 20 more rebounds than Atlanta, and out-rebounded the Hawks 17-9 on the offensive side. In the second half, the Pelicans pulled down more than double the rebounds Atlanta did, 25-12.
17: Even though the Hawks are terrific at defense in transition, New Orleans scored 17 fast-break points on Monday. Atlanta ranks third in the NBA with only 10.8 fast-break points per game.