Back-to-back games against two of the league’s bigger teams proved too tough for the Atlanta Hawks as they dropped a second consecutive close game on Wednesday. A night after battling the East-leading Indiana Pacers but coming up short at home, Atlanta lost in New Orleans to a young Pelicans team led by emerging star Anthony Davis. The former Kentucky Wildcat great averages north of twenty points and ten rebounds for the season, and he matched that mark on the boards, while dropping twenty-seven points.
Louisiana native Paul Millsap had nearly identical stats (26 and 10) and shot 50% from the floor. Poor offensive production throughout the Indiana game had forced much of the starting rotation to the bench in the fourth quarter, and the top players on the team responded with a much better offensive effort on the road. Teague dished out thirteen assists, while Millsap played throughout like the NBA All-Star he has become for the Hawks.
Standout defender DeMarre Carroll got hot and contributed twenty-two points, and Mike Scott continues to provide punch off of the pine. The team took and made a high number of threes, going 14-for-30 from downtown. Kyle Korver continued his three point streak but only got off six total shots, as the Pelicans consistently ran long guys at him and forced him to pass.
A clear New Orleans rebounding advantage was less a game-defining problem for the Hawks than multiple late turnovers, as Atlanta yielded and never regained the lead. Coach Bud summed it up best in his postgame press conference, “Games are won and lost in the fourth quarter.”
The Hawks have two days off before returning home to face off with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night at Philips Arena. Stay tuned.