22; Rockets; 2007-08;
20; Bucks; 1970-71;
It had to end eventually.
The Hawks’ 19-game win streak, tied for the fifth longest in NBA history, came to an abrupt halt with a 115-100 loss to the Pelican at Smoothie King Center on Monday night.
The loss was just the third in the past 36 games for the Hawks, who grabbed local and national attention with their amazing run of success.
The Hawks (40-9) have several other streaks broken with the lopsided loss. Coming to an end were:
- A 12-game road winning streak.
- A 12-game winning streak against the Western Conference, a run that began with a victory against the Pelicans on Nov. 28 in Atlanta.
- A five-game winning streak on the road against the West.
The loss for the Hawks was their first of 2015, coming 33 days into the year.
“I want to start with giving New Orleans a lot of credit,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They played really well, all up and down their roster and in every phase of the game. Give them a lot of credit for how well they played. Give our guys a lot of credit for a lot of good work over the last month. Tonight wasn’t our night. I’m very proud of them. We’ll get back to work tomorrow and figuring out how we can improve and get better.”
Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 21 points and seven assists. Paul Millsap added 15 points and Kyle Korver finished with 12 points.
The Pelicans (26-22) won for the sixth time in the past seven games, much to the delight of the home crowd who reveled in snapping the Hawks’ streak. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with a double-double of a game-high 29 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pelicans took advantage of the Hawks’ poor shooting early. They built a 32-22 lead after one quarter as the Hawks shot just 35 percent from the field. The Pelicans increased the lead to 55-42 at the half after the Hawks shot just 41 percent in the second quarter.
“They definitely set the tone in the first quarter,” Korver said. “They came out with an edge and we were kind of on our heels. They got that good lead and set the tone for the game.”
Davis had 19 points and seven rebounds by halftime. The Hawks held the Pelicans’ All-Star to 14 points and 11 rebounds in a November victory at Philips Arena.
DeMarre Carroll returned after missing the past two games with a left Achilles strain. Kent Bazemore started in his place but Carroll entered the game in the first quarter. Carroll started the second half with the Hawks facing the double-digit deficit.
The Hawks made a mini-run to start the third quarter and closed to within seven points. However, the Pelicans pushed their lead to 88-74 by the end of the period.
The Hawks’ deficit reached 19 in the fourth quarter. The team that entered the NBA with the fewest points allowed per game allowed more than 100 points for only the 10th time in the past 35 games.
“I don’t think we were expected to win every game,” Al Horford said. “We were definitely taking it a game at a time. But it’s great. I’m proud of our team and what we’ve been able to do. We’ve been playing high-quality basketball for the last two months really. Now that it’s over, we’ll reflect on what we did and get ready for tomorrow.”
The Hawks return home to host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and the Golden State Warriors on Friday.
Budenholzer has a streak of his own.
The Hawks’ coach was chosen the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for January with a 17-0 record, the league announced Monday. He also won the award in December after leading the Hawks to a 14-2 mark.
The Hawks (40-8), with the best record in the NBA, are on a current 19-game win streak.
“It’s a credit to our players,” Budenholzer said Monday before the loss. “I think our coaching staff does an amazing job, all of our assistants, the organization and everybody. It’s a credit to them. It doesn’t mean a whole lot, I don’t think.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was selected the Coach of the Month for January in the Western Conference. Budenholzer and Kerr will coach their respective conferences in the NBA All-Star Game later this month in New York. They will also go head-to-head on Friday when the Hawks host Golden State.