Hawks Win Streak Ends as Davis Powers Pelicans to Win

Friday, March 21, 2014
By Robby Kalland

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The Hawks’ (31-36) five-game win streak came to an end at the hands of the Pelicans (28-40) who followed a monster performance from Anthony Davis to the 111-105 victory. Davis finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds on 57.9% shooting, including a pair of monster dunks late in the fourth.

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The Hawks were without Kyle Korver (back spasms) and without their sharp-shooter, the Hawks normally effective three-point attack was not able to get going. Shelvin Mack started in Korver’s place and did his part to pick up the shooting slack, going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc (7-of-11 overall) for 18 points along with four assists and three rebounds.

Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 21 points (2-of-4 from three) along with eight assists and three rebounds. Teague was aggressive in the second half, scoring 19 of his 21 in the final two quarters, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Pelicans, who dominated offensively down the stretch.

New Orleans shot 75% in the fourth quarter and made 16-of-17 from the free throw line in the final quarter on their way to a 42 point quarter. The Hawks had no answer for Davis or Tyreke Evans for most of the night. Evans was able to get to the rim seemingly at will and finished with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting and also added four steals on the defensive end.

The Hawks led late in the third quarter after going on an 11-0 run sparked by Mike Scott and the bench, but a Pelicans run capped by a  Luke Babbitt three at the end of the quarter cut the Hawks lead to just two heading into the fourth quarter. Babbitt opened the fourth with a three-pointer, as the Hawks struggled to cover him on pick-and-pop plays due to the Pelicans’ success getting in the paint forcing the defense to collapse. Babbitt finished the game with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of-5 from three), eight of which coming in the fourth.

The Pelicans offense dominated in the fourth quarter as they shot 12-of-16 (75%) from the field and 16-for-17 from the free throw line for 42 points. The Hawks’ offense was able to muster up 34 points, but much of that was too little, too late. Davis had 13 in the final period and Brian Roberts made a number of clutch free throws late for eight of his 16 points on the night.

The Hawks defense, which had been making strides during the five-game win streak, was not able to contain the Pelicans who shot 51.4% from the field despite making only 4-of-13 three-point attempts. The Hawks got themselves into foul trouble by being out of position, and the Pelicans made it to the free throw line a lot — 43 free throw attempts — even before the Hawks were forced to intentionally foul late.

Paul Millsap was one of those that was saddled with foul trouble, but despite picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter, he was able to finish with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Millsap had his hands full with Davis, and after doing well on him early, the Hawks defense got a little ragged leading to easy baskets and fouls.

Outside of Teague and Mack, the Hawks were just 2-of-16 from three-point range. DeMarre Carroll  had an off night shooting, with just two made field goals and seven points, but had seven boards and four steals. Scott had 10 points off the bench, all in the third quarter, but the rest of the Hawks struggled to have an efficient shooting night, which compounded the defensive issues.

With the loss and another Knicks win, Atlanta’s cushion in the eighth seed is down to three games. The Hawks will be back in action on Sunday afternoon in Toronto for another matchup with the Raptors, who they defeated in Atlanta on Tuesday.

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Photo by: Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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