Dominated from the start, the Atlanta Hawks saw their team-record 19-game win streak — level with the fifth-best in NBA history — snapped Monday with a 115-100 loss at New Orleans.
Anthony Davis, fourth among NBA scorers, netted 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to ignite the Pelicans to their fifth win in six games.
The Hawks, who had not lost since falling to Milwaukee on December 26, were foiled in reaching 20 wins in a row as their streak was snapped exactly two years after the Miami Heat began a run of 27 in a row.
“It was a lot of fun,” Davis said. “We knew they were going to come out and be aggressive. We just tried to counter that.
“I just tried to come out be aggressive and play hard. I went out with everything I had and all my energy and left it all out there. I feel wonderful.”
Atlanta fell to 40-9, stumbling just behind Golden State for the best record in the NBA. The Hawks had not owned the NBA’s best record so late in a season since moving to Atlanta from St. Louis in 1968.
The Pelicans jumped ahead 32-22 after the first quarter and kept the margin in double-digits most of the way to the finish. Atlanta made a run early in the third quarter but New Orleans responded and led 88-74 entering the fourth quarter.
“We knew they won 19 games in a row for a reason,” Davis said. “We didn’t want to give in. Coach told us they were going to give us a punch and we took it and come back from that and never looked back.”
Turkish big man Omer Asik grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds for the Pelicans, who also had 20 points from Eric Gordon and 15 points each from Tyreke Evans and reserve forward Ryan Anderson.
Atlanta, which hit only 40-of-89 shots from the floor, was led by Jeff Teague’s 21 points. The Hawks, outrebounded 52-32, also had 15 points from Paul Millsap and 12 from Kyle Korver.
At 26-22, the Pelicans moved within 1 1/2 games of Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference.
“We think we can win each game,” Davis said. “We believe that. We have to hustle each and every night. If we do that we can give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs.”
The Hawks went 17-0 in January, the first team in NBA history to win so many in a month without losing a game. Atlanta had won a club-record 12 in a row over Western Conference foes.
Atlanta kept a seven-game edge on second-place Toronto in the overall Eastern Conference race after the Raptors saw their six-game win streak halted with a 82-75 loss to Milwaukee. – Agence France-Presse