The Atlanta Hawks led after 36 minutes of game action on Friday night, but in the final frame, there were simply too many defensive breakdowns, and as a result, the New Orleans Pelicans were able to emerge with a 111-105 victory that snapped Atlanta's season-long winning streak at five games. New Orleans scored 42 points in the 4th quarter, led by 8 unlikely points from reserve forward Luke Babbitt, and the Hawks simply couldn't keep pace despite a late charge, falling by the 6-point final margin.
Paul Millsap led the way for the Hawks with 20 points on 9 for 15 shooting, but he was still soundly outplayed by his counterpart, Anthony Davis, who finished with an astounding 34 points and 11 rebounds on the night. In the backcourt, both Jeff Teague and Shelvin Mack (who started in place of the injured Kyle Korver) had solid nights with 26 and 18 points respectively, but both guys were highlighted by short spurts, and it wasn't enough to sustain team-wide offense throughout the night.
Defense was certainly the issue for Atlanta throughout the night, and it showed in the final box score. The Pelicans shot a blistering 51% from the floor as a team, and when you add in that New Orleans was able to get to the free throw line at will (making 35 of 43 attempts), it wasn't a recipe for success on this night.
The night was highlighted by the return of Lou Williams to the lineup, but after seven consecutive DNP-CD's, Williams was wholly ineffective in 15 minutes of court time. For reference, the combo guard finished with a game-worst -18 rating, and he finished with only 2 points to go with 2 turnovers and 0 assists on the night.
After snapping their lengthy winning streak, Atlanta will have a tough test in their next match-up, as they travel north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors with a special 1:00 pm ET tip-off on Sunday afternoon.