Hawks shoot for 20 straight, visit New Orleans

( - The Atlanta Hawks will try to become the first NBA team to win 20 straight games in almost two years on Monday when they visit the Smoothie King Center to take on the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 2012-13 Miami Heat won 27 straight, starting almost two years to the day on Feb. 3, 2013. The Hawks could become just the sixth team in NBA history to win 20 in a row with a victory on Monday.

Atlanta is the only team in the league with 40 victories and hasn't held the NBA's top spot in the standings this late into the season since the team moved to Atlanta for the 1968-69 season.

The Hawks went 17-0 in January and became the first team in NBA history to go 17-0 during a calendar month. They own a 12-game winning streak against the Western Conference, which is a franchise record, and have won five straight on the road versus the west, which is the first streak that long for the team since 1993.

Atlanta's streak reached 19 with a 91-85 home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Al Horford had 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Hawks held on for victory.

They had to battle to stay ahead down the stretch despite leading by 21 points in the second quarter and 15 in the third. The Sixers took a two-point lead on Nerlens Noel's dunk with under three minutes remaining, but Horford tied it at the other end and Dennis Schroder knocked down a straightaway 3-pointer to give the Hawks the lead for good with 1:35 left.

"They came all the way back but coach said just to play our game," said Schroder. "Just keep playing with pace and that's what we did and we won the game."

Schroder and Paul Millsap scored 15 points apiece for the Hawks, who found out Saturday that forward Thabo Sefolosha will miss up to eight weeks with a right calf strain. Starting small forward DeMarre Carroll will continue to sit with a left Achilles strain.

The Pelicans have won five of their last six and are 3-1 on this six-game homestand, which concludes Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Friday, Eric Gordon scored a season-high 28 points to lift the Pelicans to a 108-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Ryan Anderson netted 24 points and went 5-of-11 from 3-point range, while Alexis Ajinca supplied 17 points and nine rebounds off the bench and Tyreke Evans had 11 points and 12 assists for the Pelicans.

"It's good to be able to win like that in front of our crowd," New Orleans head coach Monty Williams said. "We got hot and our defense was effective."

LA's Chris Paul scored 10 points during a 12-0 swing to get the Clippers within 95-94 with 5:07 remaining. With under two minutes to play, Gordon knocked down a turnaround fadeaway shot and Dante Cunningham threw down a dunk to give the Pelicans a six-point lead and seal the win.

Anthony Davis missed the win against the Clippers with a groin strain, but he is probable for Monday. Jrue Holiday is still out with a stress reaction in his lower right leg.

The Hawks beat the Pelicans in Atlanta on Nov. 28, but New Orleans prevailed in the three prior meetings. The Hawks are 2-1 in their last three in the Big Easy.