The Hawks placed six players in double-figures – led by Jeff Teague again – in a 100-91 victory over the Pelicans Friday night. However it was the defensive effort that was the key to the victory. The Hawks limited the Pelicans to 28 first-half points en route to the win.
Here are five observations from the win:
1. The Hawks made stopping Anthony Davis a priority and they did just that. Davis finished with 14 points, far short of the 25.4 points per game average he entered with. The Pelicans All-Star also had 11 rebounds. The real job came in the first half. Davis was held to just five points in the first two quarters. Paul Millsap did the majority of the work on Davis, but Al Horford, Pero Antic and even Mike Scott helped.
“We just did a great job taking on the challenge,” Horford said. “Honestly, it was just our defensive concepts. Our guards were really active. The bigs, any of us who were on him, made it tough for him to catch the ball, to attack, to make him finish over us.”
2. The Hawks held the Pelicans to 15 points in the first quarter (6 of 17) and 13 points in the second quarter (5 of 20). The points allowed for each quarter and the half were season-lows by Hawks opponents. The Hawks did allow 40 fourth-quarter points but by then the outcomes was determined.
3. Teague was at it again. The point guard finished with a game-high 26 points and a team-high seven assists. It was the fifth straight game he has scored at least 20 points. In that stretch, he is averaging 25.8 points, 6.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
“Just playing basketball,” Teague said of his recent play.
4. DeMarre Carroll has added more offense to his game. The small forward scored a season-high 19 points, marking the ninth time in his 10 games this season that he was scored in double figures. On Friday, he hit a 3-pointer, a mid-range jumper, had several drives to the basket and made all six free-throw attempts. He is averaging 12.6 points per game,
5. It is a bit maddening to see the up-and-down play of the Hawks this season. A four-game win streak was followed by clunkers against the Cavaliers and Lakers. Impressive wins over the Pistons and at the Wizards were followed by Wednesday’s home loss to the Raptors. That loss was followed by Friday’
“Toronto, they shot the lights out,” Kyle Korver said. “They are a good shooting team. They are leading the Eastern Conference for a reason. They are playing really well so give them credit but it is frustrating that you don’t play at the level you want to play every night but there are 82 games in a season. It’s not going to be there every night but the defense is the one thing you want to be consistent with because it is about attention to detail, effort and energy. Yeah, it’s a little frustrating but we are glad tonight was better.”