The New Orleans Pelicans took down the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night, snapping the Hawks 19-game winning streak and providing a potential template for other teams looking to conquer Atlanta.
Sure, the Pelicans have Anthony Davis, and no other team has anyone quite like him. Davis had an incredible game, scoring 29 points on 12-23 shooting, grabbing 13 rebounds, and playing unbelievable defense.
But the win came as a result of a team effort.
Check out how the Pelicans won below.
They Passed a Lot
The Hawks pass so much they’ve earned the nickname “Spurs East.” But in this game, at least, the Pelicans proved to be the better passers. They finished with 30 assists–12 from Tyreke Evans and another 7 from Eric Gordon–to the Hawks 19.
Evans, Gordon, Jimmer Fredette, and Quincy Pondexter repeatedly took the Hawks off the dribble and created offense. Evans was especially effective, dishing time and again to both the perimeter and also inside to Davis and Omer Asik.
The crisp passing led to a free throw advantage. The Pelicans shot 23 times, making 20, while the Hawks shot 17 times, making just 13.
They Jumped Ahead, and Held the Lead
Games often turn on a run or two, and tonight was no exception. The Pelicans shot 52 percent in the first quarter, to the Hawks 34 percent, and led 32-22 going into the second.
They added three points to the lead by halftime, and also scored a point better than the Hawks in both the third and fourth quarters.
The Hawks never seemed to threaten the Pelicans, who were boosted by the home crowd and seemed to keep gaining momentum. Multiple dunks from Asik and Davis, and a slew of three-pointers from a host of players helped keep the crowd revved up.
They Had a Better Shot Selection
The Pelicans shot a neat 50 percent for the game (43-86), and had a nice game in terms of where their shots came from.
Out of the 86 shots, 23 came from three-point range. The Pelicans shot a fine 39 percent for 27 points from behind the arc. They added 52 points in the paint (to 46 for the Hawks).
All together, the Pelicans got 99 points from the free throw line, three-point range, and in the paint. The Hawks managed just 80. The Pelicans also had a 17-9 advantage in terms of fast break points. The Hawks did have a similar shot selection but struggled to shoot as well as New Orleans.
Their Bench and Starters Played Better
New Orleans saw their starters and bench outplay the other team in this one. Some Hawks had a good game–Kyle Korver shot 5-7, and Jeff Teague had 21 points and 7 assists–but as units they were unable to show off the cohesive play that earned them the record-busting winning streak.
The bench was especially off, with backup point guard Dennis Schroder shooting a dismal 4-13, and basically no one outside Mike Scott making a positive impact.
On the other side, the Pelicans starters all played great. Asik grabbed 17 rebounds, Gordon, Evans, and Davis scored and played defense, and Dante Cunningham chipped in 10 points and helped slow down Korver and other Hawks players. Ryan Anderson added 15 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, Fredette had 10 points, and Quincy had 7 points and 5 rebounds as coach Monty Williams kept a tight rotation.