The Atlanta Hawks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-93 at home at Philips Arena in the second game of a back-to-back.  This win extended the Hawks' winning streak to an NBA-best five games.  With the win, the Hawks also improved to 8-4 on the season and tied the regular season series with the Clippers at 1-1.  The starters for the Hawks were Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver in the backcourt, Josh Smith and Al Horford at the two forward positions, and Zaza Pachulia at center.  Devin Harris (turf toe, sprained big left toe) and DeShawn Stevenson (sore back, sore knee) did not play.  Harris was inactive, while Stevenson was in uniform.  Stevenson will not play on the second night of back-to-backs this season, according to Coach Larry Drew.  This is akin to Coach Drew's schedule for Tracy McGrady last season.  The Hawks were lead by Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Teague, who scored 19 points apiece.  Pachulia also grabbed 12 boards, giving him a double-double on the night.  Teague also dished out 11 assists, giving him a double-double on th night as well.  A strong argument can be made that Teague outplayed fellow former Demon Deacon Chris Paul, as while Paul matched Teague's 19 points, Teague had four more assists.  This is very impressive, given that Paul ranks second in the league in assists per game this season.  This was the first time in Teague's career that he had double-doubles in consecutive games.  Louis Williams added 18 points and five assists off the bench.  Josh Smith contributed 17 points, but did not play in the first half after first picking up two early fouls and then having an altercation with Coach Drew on his way to the bench.  All his points came in the second half.  I am so glad that Coach Drew has finally decided to discipline Smith for being such a head case.  It only took a little over two years.  Once he came back into the game after halftime, he really attacked the paint and played like Atlanta fans have been hoping for for years.  I applaud him for that.  Al Horford scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.  The leading scorer for the Clippers was Blake Griffin, with 22 points.  The Hawks really kept him from doing damage in the paint.  In fact, on some odd occasion, he decided to make his outside shots, hitting almost everything the Hawks baited him with.  When he did manage to take it to the cup, they fouled him, and he made his first three free-throws of the game, despite being only a 59.4% career shooter at the charity stripe.  In the first quarter, Griffin scored 11 points to help the Clippers to a 24-21 lead over the Hawks after one.  In the second quarter, the Hawks began on a 16-0 run and took a 51-41 lead over the Clippers at the half.  In the third quarter, the Hawks went on an 18-4 run on their way to an 85-60 lead over the Clippers heading into the fourth.  The Hawks scored at least 30 points in both the second and third quarters.  In the fourth quarter, the Clippers outscored the Hawks 33-19.  They ended the game on an 8-0 run, but the Hawks still came out on top with the 11-point victory.  I think the key to the win for the Hawks was points in the paint.  The Clippers score the third most points in the paint per game in the NBA.  The Hawks were able to outscore them 46-30 in the paint behind strong inside offensive play from the bigs.  It was the right move to go with the big lineup of Smith, Horford, and Pachulia in the frontcourt.  The Hawks held the Clippers to 15.2 points in the paint below their season average.  Great win for the Hawks against the Clippers, proving the Highlight Factory is superior to Lob City!
Zaza Pachulia shows off his baby hook vs. LAC