NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis leaped toward the basket, rising over a pair of Atlanta Hawks to corral an offensive rebound with his right hand and ferociously slam the ball through the hoop in one continuous motion.
That first-half play provided clear signs that Davis’ recent left groin strain wasn’t bothering him and that Atlanta’s 19-game winning streak was under threat.
Davis finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds, and the Pelicans handed the Hawks only their third loss in 36 games, 115-100 on Monday night.
“They had us on our heels from the very beginning,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said of the Pelicans. “They deserve a lot of credit for us not starting well.
“Give our guys a lot of credit for a lot of good work over the last month,” Budenholzer added. “Tonight wasn’t our night. I am very proud of them. We’ll get back to work.”
The Pelicans won for the sixth time in seven games. That recent run of good form has included victories over other contending squads, such as Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers, and has pulled the Pelicans (26-22) within a game of Phoenix (28-22) for eighth place in the Western Conference.
“We just need to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Davis said. “The past couple games, we’ve been rebounding, defending, sharing the ball. We don’t care who scores.”
Jeff Teague scored 21 for Atlanta, but the Hawks fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and trailed the rest of the way, getting within single digits for only a few brief stints.
Eric Gordon scored 20 points for New Orleans, while Tyreke Evans scored 15 points and tied a season high with 12 assists for the fourth time in five games.
Asked if the Pelicans came in confident that they could end Atlanta’s streak, Gordon responded, “No question. We’re a good team. We know what it takes. They’re a 3-point shooting team. You’ve got to run them off the line. And for us, we’re a tough team to beat when we’re attacking and moving the ball.”
The Hawks made only seven of 22 3-point attempts and were outshot by New Orleans, 50 percent (43 of 86) to 44.9 percent (40 of 89).
Omer Asik grabbed 17 rebounds for New Orleans, which outrebounded Atlanta 52-32. Davis grabbed eight of his rebounds on the offensive end.
Paul Millsap scored 15 points and Kyle Korver 12 for Atlanta.
“We’ve got a lot of season left,” Millsap said. “So it’s just regrouping. … We can’t let one loss turn into two.”
Hawks: DeMarre Carroll, who’d missed Atlanta’s previous two games with a strained left Achilles, played 23 minutes and finished with six points on consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter. … Atlanta came in having won 12 straight against Western Conference opponents and 12 straight on the road. … The Hawks failed to hit 10 3s for only the second time in 16 games. … Al Horford, who had eight points, shot below 50 percent (4 of 9) for the first time in 10 games.
Pelicans: Davis had 19 points by halftime, when New Orleans led 55-42. … Davis has scored at least 20 in 11 straight games. … The Pelicans improved to 17-6 at home. … Gordon has had at least 20 points and seven assists in two straight games for the first time in his career.
The Hawks had looked shaky in their previous victory over struggling Philadelphia, blowing a 21-point lead before escaping 91-85.
In the first half in New Orleans, Atlanta shot 37.8 percent (17 of 45), including 2 of 14 from 3-point range.
“We were a little off,” Teague said. “That happens in games. We were due for one, but (New Orleans) just played well.”
Hawks: Host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
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