Clippers Hold Off Late Rally From Hawks: Win 115-105

1.24.17

 

Atlanta – One night removed from Atlanta’s NFL franchise winning the NFC Championship, the city’s basketball team welcomed visitors from the west coast: The Los Angeles Clippers.  Judging by the home team’s first-half performance, it seemed as if Atlanta suffered from a championship hangover of sorts.  Austin Rivers led a Clipper team, playing without stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, with 27 points and 6 assists as the Clippers built a commanding lead early on only to hold off the Hawks to get the win 115-105 Monday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta.  Atlanta entered the contest having won 12 of the last 14 games and looking to take advantage of the short-handed Clippers.  Although the Clippers have consistently remained at the top of the Western Conference throughout the season, the Hawks fans who filled the arena did not expect the visitors from the west coast to put on such a show.

Austin Rivers defends Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder
credit: peachtreehoops

Atlanta could not solve their shooting woes early on (30% in the first half) and they had just as much trouble solving the combination of Redick and fellow Duke alum Austin Rivers.  The duo combined for 27 points in the first half as the Clippers built a 22-point first half lead.  Two Paul Millsap free throws cut the lead to 18 at the break but the Hawks would need more on this night.  The second half began with more of the same as the Clippers back bout controlled the game and continued to make shots while the Hawks scrambled to mount a charge in front of the home crowd.  The spark came midway through the third quarter as Atlanta began to find their shooting touch.  In fact, two free throws from Dwight Howard cut the Clippers lead to nine (79-70).  At this point, all signs pointed to the Hawks battling back to steal a win.

Bazemore drives for a basket.
credit: The Tribune

Enter the closer.

 

Jamal Crawford, former Hawk and consistent candidate for NBA’s sixth man award, picked the perfect time to break through his recent shooting slump.  Crawford scored 8 of his 19 points in the last four minutes of the contest (including two back-breaking, end of shot clock pull-up jump shots) to put the final touches on a tremendous win for the Clippers on the road.  The Hawks, on the other hand, left the contest looking a missed opportunity square in the face.

 

Raymond Felton (14) and Luc Mbah a Moute (12) supported Crawford, Rivers and Redick in double figures while Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder led the Hawks in scoring with 25 & 21 points respectively.  Millsap added 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists.

 

Atlanta looks to bounce back on Wednesday with a visit to Chicago while L.A.  tries to keep the momentum on a back to back in Philadelphia.

 

Up Next:

 

Atlanta Hawks v. Chicago Bulls

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

United Center; Chicago, IL

8pm

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