The Hawks had a good solid bounce back after their 14 losses in 15 game stretch, but their winning streak ended at five games on Friday night after Anthony Davis and the Pelicans swooped into town and scooped up a victory.
Davis was an absolute monster, putting on a magnificent showing with his all-around game including highlight dunks, and believe it or not, highlight mid-range jumpers. Davis was not afraid to delve into extreme difficultly on his shots, converting a couple of plays were he was fouled (one didn’t count) and another fade-away that started off from behind the backboard. The scary part? Davis commented after the game that he still felt “under the weather” and that he wasn’t 100% after missing the Pelicans’ last game against the Raptors. Davis finished the night with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and one very emphatic block on a DeMarre Carroll shot attempt.
For the Hawks, they were missing Kyle Korver, who was scratched right before the game due to a flare up of back spasms during his pre-game shooting routine. His absence really showed how well prepared New Orleans was for the Hawks’ three-point attack, as Atlanta went just 8-for-28 (28.6%) from behind the arc in this game. Credit to New Orleans coach Monty Williams, who after the game praised Korver as the “best to ever do it” in terms of shooting. He also praised the overall talent that the Hawks have from deep, expressing great difficulty in trying to guard the three-pointer when all five starters can extend their games out that far. Shelvin Mack started in place of Korver and he had a decent offensive showing with 18 points and four three-pointers, which were half of the Hawks’ makes from three-point land.
The rest of Atlanta starters mostly did well, save for DeMarre Carroll who was 2-for-10 from the field. Jeff Teague had 26 points for the game, which is somewhat showing of how dedicated the Pelicans were to sealing off the perimeter; Teague was able to get inside against Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers with ease on multiple possessions. Paul Millsap scored 20 points, but he had some foul trouble in the third quarter that really allowed the Pelicans to go on a bit of a run. New Orleans had a 22-4 run between the third and fourth quarters, coming largely at the Hawks’ lack of ability to find Luke Babbitt on defense. Babbitt, who didn’t play at all in the first half, hit three critical three-pointers in the second half.
Among other things, we finally saw why Lou Williams hasn’t been playing. Williams was abysmal on both ends of the floor and clearly wasn’t giving his full effort. In 15 minutes, Lou only scored two points and turned the ball over twice. He was also a team worst minus-18 in his time on the court.
The Hawks play their next game at 1:00PM on Sunday against the Raptors, who will likely be looking for a bit of revenge after they lost to the Hawks in Atlanta on Tuesday. Jonas Valanciunas, who missed part of Tuesday’s game due to foul trouble and injury, will likely have a chance to get full playing time on Sunday.
Atlanta’s record stands at 31-36 and they are currently three games ahead of the Knicks for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.