NEW ORLEANS – The Hawks’ 19-game win streak came to an end Monday – in rather abrupt fashion – with a 115-100 loss to the Pelicans. The Hawks were not sharp offensively or defensively and the game was never really in doubt after the Pelicans built a 10-point lead in the first quarter. The Hawks’ deficit dipped below double digits for just 1:15 of the entire second half.
Here are my five observations on the game:
1. This was a game when the Hawks’ height disadvantage hurt them - big time. The Pelicans outrebounded the Hawks 52-32, including 17-9 on the offensive boards. Anthony Davis (6-foot-10) finished with 13 rebounds, with eight coming on offensive. A couple of the offensive boards were highlight-worthy put-back dunks. The Pelicans’ other tower Omer Asik (7-foot) finished with 17 rebounds. With the Hawks never able to get in an offensive rhythm, they could not use the versatility of their big men to negate the Pelican’s advantage. The Pelicans entered the game second in the league in points in the paint, averaging 47.0. They finished with 52.
2. The Hawks could not contain Davis. The All-Star finished with a game-high 29 points to go with his13 rebounds. In the Hawks’ November win over the Pelicans in Atlanta, they ‘limited’ Davis to 14 points and 11 rebounds. He was stellar Monday.
3. The 3-point shot hurt the Hawks. They entered the game third in the NBA in 3-pointers made per game with 8.8 and had made at least 10 in 14 of their past 15 games. The Hawks made seven 3-pointers against the Pelicans but they game on 22 attempts, a 31.8 percent success rate. The Hawks briefly got back in the game, cutting their deficit to seven points, when they started the third quarter 3 of 3 from long range. Take away that 1:51 stretch and the Hawks were 4 of 19 the rest of the game.
4. Another look at the boxscore shows that the Pelicans starting backcourt also hurt the Hawks. Eric Gordon finished with 20 points and seven assists and Tyreke Evans had 15 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and two steals.
5. There was some good news. The Hawks got DeMarre Carroll back. After missing the past two games with a left Achilles strain, the starting small forward and defensive stalwart played 23 minutes. Carroll did not start the game but joined the regulars to start the second half. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game that he wanted to manage Carroll’s minutes in his return from injury. The best way to do that - and have him available for the end of the game - was to bring him off the bench to start.