With a bench that reads like a collection of All-Star sixth men, it’s hard to fathom the talent-laden Clippers struggling against a team that has been pieced together in the off-season like the Hawks. Well imagination became reality Saturday night as the streaking Atlanta Hawks hammered the Los Angeles Clippers 104-93.
Somewhere, Kobe Bryant is smirking.
Philips Arena was the last stop of a four game road trip for the Pacific Division leading Clippers. Los Angeles jumped out to a 21-21 lead after the first quarter. “We were timid in the first quarter as you could tell but Lou (Williams) came in and made some plays and I think we all fed off him,” said Hawks guard Jeff Teague.
Atlanta’s bench, led by Williams and Zaza Pachulia, provided a huge boost blanking the Clippers second unit. “Our bench came in and did a phenomenal job,” said Hawks Head Coach Larry Drew. “Those guys got us going in the second quarter and I was going to ride them as long as I could”.
By the end of the first half, Atlanta’s bench had staked a ten point lead over the visitors.
The momentum carried over into the third quarter. Hawks forward Josh Smith, rested from early foul trouble, got it going scoring 10 points in the third on 4 of 4 shooting from the field. Atlanta outscored LA 34-19 in the period. “We just couldn’t get anything going offensively, couldn’t slow them down defensively,” said Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro.
Clippers swingman Jamal Crawford credited the Hawks changing defense with hindering the offensive productions. “They played our starters man-to-man and when the bench came in they went to zone the whole time,” said Crawford. “They were able to get some stops and get confidence and get on a run. That was something we hadn’t seen yet.
Atlanta held Los Angeles to 16 points below their season average. The Hawks extend their winning streak to 5 in a row heading into a 4 day break and a date with the Charlotte Bobcats. Los Angeles heads back to the Staples Center to face the visiting New Orleans Hornets.Hawks vs Clippers Video Recap
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