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Hawks-Pelicans Preview

(AP) -- After a far-from-perfect performance, the Atlanta Hawks head into February with the NBA's best record and savoring a bit of history as the first team to go 17-0 within a calendar month.

They'll get a chance to match the fourth-longest streak in league history Monday night as they begin what could be a challenging week by visiting a New Orleans Pelicans team that should getAnthony Davis back.

The Hawks stretched their overall win streak to 19 with a gritty 91-85 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday night, blowing a 21-point lead and actually falling behind late in the game. In the end, it was yet another triumph for a team that hasn't lost since the day after Christmas.

"We are a resilient group," All-Star center Al Horford said.

The Hawks (40-8) are the first NBA team to win 17 games without a loss over a single month. Four other teams have put together a 16-0 mark, most recently the eventual NBA championSan Antonio Spurs last March.

They'll now travel to New Orleans looking to make it 20 in a row, which would match the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks for the league's fourth-longest run. The only longer streaks were by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33), the 2012-13 Miami Heat (27), and the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22).

The Hawks are banged up as they move into a new month, but confident that their depth will help overcome injuries to Thabo Sefolosha, DeMarre Carroll and Shelvin Mack.

Sefolosha, who backed up Carroll at small forward, is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a right calf injury, costing the Hawks one of their top defensive players and a key member on the playing rotation. Carroll has missed the last two games with a left Achilles strain and it's not known when he'll return. Mack, a backup point guard, has missed six games with a strained left calf and could be out for at least another week.

"We're confident in one to 15 here," Horford said. "Guys really put in the time. Guys work every day. They just don't get the opportunity because were so deep. We have guys who can play. It's just the way it is with this team."

Kent Bazemore, a 6-foot-5 swingman, moved up to take Carroll's spot in the lineup. Third-year guard John Jenkins, who has spent much of the year in the D-League, played nearly 21 minutes and scored 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting against the 76ers in only his sixth NBA game of the season.

With Carroll hurting and Sefolosha out, Bazemore will definitely get more minutes.

"We're very, very fortunate to have three guys on the wing that really take a lot of pride in defending," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Kent was everywhere (against Philadelphia). He was on a lot of different people, doing a lot of different things. ... He's been growing and coming in the right direction along with the whole group. I'm happy for him. He's such a hard worker."

After the Pelicans (25-22), the Hawks return home to face Washington (31-17) on Wednesday night before a much-anticipated game against West-leading Golden State (37-8) on Friday and a visit to Memphis (35-12) on Sunday. The Warriors held the top record in the NBA for much of the season, but were passed by the streaking Hawks in the past week.

New Orleans is 16-6 at home as it continues to fight for the No. 8 spot in the wild Western Conference playoff picture, and it's coming off a significant win without Davis. With their star big man out after suffering a groin injury in a 93-85 loss to Denver two days earlier, the Pelicans bounced back with a 108-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday behind 28 points from Eric Gordon.

Davis practiced fully Sunday and is being listed as probable, though coach Monty Williams said he'll be re-evaluated Monday to make sure he's OK. Davis was held to 14 points and Gordon didn't play in the Pelicans' 100-91 loss at Atlanta on Nov. 28, the first win for the Hawks in their current 33-2 stretch.

"You've got to break their rhythm," Williams told the league's official website. "We scored 28 points in the first half (at Atlanta in November), couldn't make a shot, didn't execute well. They had a rhythm the whole game. You've got to figure out ways to break rhythm and try as best you can to deal with how they pass and cut.

"They have so many bigs who can do multiple things, whether it's shooting or passing or dribbling or driving the ball, it's a different dynamic."

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Don't be I say let the Hawks continue to make History you know what too I'm glad both Portland and 76ers games happened the way it does this team needs to stay hungry this winning streak seems to be going a little to their heads right now with the way things went in both games.

I will say funny enough our loss will most likely happen either @ Boston or vs Mavericks, but regardless I see 3 losses coming this month that's my maximum at best no losses for a second straight month.

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Yeah I'd really love some info on this.

I google searched and found nothing. I know it is listed as an "achilles strain" - but you don't really want to mess around w/ an achilles - when it snaps, you are gone for good. I would not be surprised if we did not see DeMarre until after the all-star break.

I think DeMarre is really underrated - he is definitely #5 of the starters - but he carries his weight - great defender, has made himself a good shooter and three point shooter as well.

Hawks are not as good w/o DeMarre - we can win w/o him during reg. season but will need him in the playoffs for sure.

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Can't believe nobodies snatched up Friday's game on national TV yet. Bulls and Rockets are going to be on ESPN at the same time so I bet it's some sort of NBA rule where they can't have multiple national games in the same time slot.

It's funny you would think even though the skeds are done before season that when something like this happens someone at NBA office/ESPN/whomever would say.

YOU KNOW WHAT **** IT GET THAT TEAM ON TV NOW! Or just something to that effect.

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