Pelicans Dominate Hawks, End Atlanta’s 19 Game Winning Streak
The New Orleans Pelicans ended the 5th longest win streak in NBA history, dominating the Atlanta Hawks 115-100 at the Smoothie King Center on Monday night.
Atlanta had not lost a game since December 26th, and had not lost to a Western Conference team since mid-November. All streaks are made to be broken, and the Pelicans broke the Hawks with aggressive play, impressive shooting, and a typical performance from their MVP candidate, Anthony Davis (pictured left).
"I just went out there and played with all my energy," said Davis. "I wanted to leave it all on the floor."
Coming off a one game absence due to a groin injury, Davis finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal for his 28th double-double of the season. It was his 11th consecutive game with 20 or more points, and his 5th straight of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
"I feel great. I feel wonderful," Davis said of his health. "I can't wait until our next game so I can get back out on the floor."
Pelican fans in attendance can't wait either. As chants of "M-V-P!" reigned from the Smoothie King Center, Davis and his teammates enjoyed their Monday at work.
Eric Gordon continues his impressive play of late, scoring 20 points on 7-11 shooting, including 4-6 from three point range. Tyreke Evans chipped in a double-double, scoring 15 and dishing out 12 assists.
With a 12 point lead at halftime, the Pelicans knew they couldn't take their foot off the pedal against one of the best teams in the NBA. A 33 point third quarter helped shut down any potential Atlanta run, something that may not have occurred several months ago.
"Earlier in the season we probably would've lost this game out of halftime," said Davis. "Maybe (we) would've let them go on a run and win the game. It shows growth and how all the guys are doing what they need to do to achieve our goals this season."
Omer Asik was dominant on the glass, pulling down a game-high 17 rebounds against the All-Star frontcourt of Paul Millsap and Al Horford.
"We were plus 20 on the boards and a lot of guys made contributions tonight," said New Orleans head coach Monty Williams.
Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, the NBA leader in three point shooting, finished with 12 for Atlanta, but only attempted 7 shots.
"Our biggest focus on the game was to guard on the ball and to try and shut down Kyle Korver so he couldn't get going with the 3," explained Davis. "Dante (Cunningham) and Quincy (Pondexter) did a nice job on him tonight."
Cunningham scored 10, while Pondexter added 7 off the bench. Ryan Anderson scored 15 off the pine, and Jimmer Fredette chipped in 10.
New Orleans improves to 26-22 with the victory, including an impressive 17-6 mark at home. Atlanta falls to 40-9 with their first loss in over a month.
Next up, a giant home and road matchup looms with the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC is two games behind the Pelicans in the Western Conference standings. They visit the Smoothie King Center on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7:00. Friday, the two teams meet again in Oklahoma City.