Hawks falter in fourth quarter in loss to Pelicans (updated)

It’s a must-learn lesson.

The Hawks have struggled to win on the road – especially when holding late leads – and the sooner they can correct the deficiency the better. Atlanta let another game slip away as they failed to hold a seven-point fourth-quarter advantage and lost New Orleans 105-100 Wednesday night.

“That is something that we as a team have to fix,” DeMarre Carroll said. “Especially we have to fix it before the All-Star break because after that there are so many road games. We have to get it right.”

The Pelicans used a 16-3 run in the final period to take control of the game. During the stretch the Hawks remarkably never missed a shot but they committed three turnovers. Key to the run was a 3-pointer by Anthony Morrow after the Pelicans chased down a loose ball, an Eric Gordon banked 19-footer while being fouled by Carroll and a Brian Roberts running jumper.

Bad timing.

“The fourth quarter you have to execute that much better,” Kyle Korver said. “You have to be sharper and that much more focused. I felt like we just played it like it was the other three quarters. I don’t know why we did that tonight. The fourth quarter, especially on the road, we have to be sharper.

“The fourth quarter in the NBA, it’s about making plays. Whoever makes the most plays is going to win.”

The Hawks (25-23, 9-15 road) lost their second straight game. Paul Millsap led the team with 26 points and 10 rebounds. DeMarre Carroll finished with a career-high 22 points. The Hawks also got 16 points from Mike Scott and 11 points apiece from Jeff Teague and Lou Williams.

Kyle Korver extended his NBA-record streak to 117 games with a 3-pointer. Scott scored in double figures for the 14 straight game off the bench. Teague added 13 assists.

The Pelicans (21-27) won for only the second time in the past 11 games. Anthony Davis finished with a game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hawks trailed by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter after losing their advantage. They trimmed the Pelican’s lead to just three, 98-95, with under a minute remaining. However, Roberts scored on a layup with 20.5 seconds remaining. After a Millsap miss, Austin Rivers sunk a pair of free throws with 16.1 seconds left to end any notion of a Hawks comeback at 102-97.

“That’s a tough loss for our group,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We were able to get up seven in the fourth quarter and our execution needs to improve when we are in that situation. A couple of turnovers and then a big rebound loose ball that New Orleans ends up getting and Morrow hits a big 3. That possession is where games are won and lost in the fourth quarter. Our execution down the stretch and finding a way to get that defensive board, even if it’s five or six minutes to go in the game, those types of plays can really change the game.”

The Hawks took a 75-71 lead into the fourth quarter as they used the long ball. Six of their nine third-quarter baskets were 3-pointers, including three straight from Millsap. The All-Star also made an impression with a huge dunk over the Pelicans’ Greg Stiemsma.

The Hawks took a 51-47 lead into halftime despite trailing by as many as eight points in the second quarter. The Hawks ended the half on a 16-4 run, which included four 3-pointers, to take the advantage. Carroll hit two straight 3-pointers to end the run. Scott and Korver also connected from long range as the Hawks outscored the Pelicans 27-19 in the second quarter.

The Hawks next host another Western Conference opponent in the Grizzlies Saturday.