Hawks vs. Clippers - Recap
The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 89-76 today on the road in a matinee matchup. This was the first game of a back-to-back set for the Hawks. With the loss today, the Hawks dropped to 2-3 on the season and fell to 0-1 in the regular season series with the Clippers. The starters for the Hawks today were Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver in the backcourt, Josh Smith and Al Horford at the two forward positions, and Zaza Pachulia at center. Johan Petro (lower back pain) did not play. The leading scorer for the Hawks was Josh Smith, with 13 points. He also grabbed six boards. Al Horford added 11 points and nine rebounds, nearly a double-double. Louis Williams contributed 11 points off the bench. The leading scorer for the Clippers was Blake Griffin, with a game-high 16 points. In the first quarter, the Hawks outscored the Clippers 19-18. In the second quarter, Chris Paul banked in a shot to end the half, but it was waved off, and the Hawks only trailed 39-37 at the half. In the third quarter, the Clippers outscored the Hawks 26-23 to extend their lead to 65-60 heading into the final frame. In the fourth quarter, the Clippers went on a 15-1 run, and the Hawks trailed by their biggest deficit of the game at 20 points, 85-65. The Hawks were sparked some by the offensive skills of rookie John Jenkins, who made his NBA debut in garbage time at the end of the game, but it wasn't enough, and the Hawks lost by 13. I think there were a few key reasons the Hawks lost. First off, going with the big starting lineup was not the right decision today. The Clippers outscored the Hawks 17-9 in fastbreak points. Coach Larry Drew needed to use his quicker lineup to keep up with the Clippers in a running game. Secondly, the Hawks did not do a good job of denying the ball inside in a halfcourt set. The Clippers outscored the Hawks 50-22 in the paint. When you are playing against one of the best frontcourts in the NBA, and you have one of the best point guards in the league, you have to hound the point guard and play great off-ball defense on the bigs. The Hawks did neither. They only forced Chris Paul to turn the ball over only once. Finally, one big factor in the Hawks losing this one was free-throw shooting. The Hawks only converted on seven of their 16 tries (43.8%) at the charity stripe. The Clippers shot eight-for-eight at the line. Tough loss for the Hawks today in the first game of a four-game road trip.