It wasn’t easy, but the Los Angeles Clippers did enough Sunday to earn their third consecutive win, 89-76, over the Atlanta Hawks.
Six Clippers finished in double-figures scoring, led by Blake Griffin’s 16, to go along with six boards and four assists.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the afternoon, with neither team able to establish a significant lead until Los Angeles put forth a 15-1 push midway through the fourth quarter. The surge was keyed by the play of the Clips’ bench unit, which has been a major strength for the team through the first seven games of the season.
Los Angeles’ biggest lead was 85-65 with just under four minutes to play.
Three backups, Jamal Crawford (who won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2010 while with Atlanta), Eric Bledsoe and Matt Barnes, combined to score 33 points, and were essentially the difference of the game in the final period. This was the first game this season in which the Hawks’ bench was outscored by the opponent. The Clippers finished with a slight 35-32 edge in bench points.
The Clippers’ bench continues to produce, despite the early-season struggles of Lamar Odom, who is still working himself into shape. Odom, another former Sixth Man of the Year, finished scoreless with a rebound and an assist in 11 minutes.
Chris Paul also chimed in with 15 points and eight assists on 7-12 shooting from the field.
Atlanta continually shot themselves in the foot, as well, committing 22 turnovers that led to 24 points for L.A. 10 of those giveaways came in the fourth quarter during their implosion.
The Clippers, in contrast, turned the ball over just 13 times.
Atlanta was led by 13 points from Josh Smith.
They also continued their stretch of strong free-throw shooting, converting on all eight of their attempts. The Hawks were atrocious from the stripe, making just seven-of-16. The Hawks also resorted to chucking three-after-three once things were looking grim for them. They finished nine-for-25 (36 percent) from beyond-the-arc.
The Clippers appear to have transformed themselves on the defensive end of the floor completely this season. L.A., so far, ranks tied for 10th in the league in defensive efficiency. Last season, they finished 18th in the league in that category.
From here, Atlanta will continue their four-game road swing with a trip to Portland Monday night, while the Clippers will host the defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
L.A. is now 5-2, and the Hawks fell to 2-3.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.