Clippers-Hawks Preview

The Los Angeles Clippers are looking to avoid a sub.-500

trip.

A game against the surging Atlanta Hawks could make that

difficult for the Pacific Division leaders.

The Clippers will try to avoid a season-high third consecutive

loss on Saturday night when the Hawks look to extend their

season-best winning streak to five.

After defeating San Antonio 92-87 on Monday to open its trip –

and extending its winning streak to six – Los Angeles (8-4) lost

117-111 to Oklahoma City on Wednesday and 86-76 to Brooklyn on

Friday.

The Clippers were outscored 46-29 in the final 24 minutes and

shot a season-low 40.3 percent from the field against the Nets. It

was Los Angeles’ lowest scoring game since a 74-71 loss at Portland

on Feb. 16.

“You’ve got to be able to do it on the road. Good teams can.

Good teams execute on the road down the stretch,” said Chris Paul,

who finished with 14 points and nine assists after committing six

fouls in the final period. “Everybody knows what their role is and

we got to do better. That starts with me.”

Los Angeles, which last dropped three straight March 20-22, will

try to avoid losing for a fourth straight time at Philips Arena

before returning home for six of seven.

The Hawks (7-4), meanwhile, kick off a five-game homestand after

matching their longest winning streak from last season with

Friday’s 101-91 victory over Charlotte. Al Horford finished with a

team season-high 26 points and 13 rebounds as Atlanta improved to

5-1 since an 89-76 loss at the Clippers on Nov. 11.

“I feel like when we play through me a lot of the times it opens

up things for other guys as well,” Horford said.

One of those guys is newcomer Kyle Korver, who is averaging 14.8

points and has hit 21 of 38 from 3-point range since the Clipper

loss. He has nine total 3s and 16 points in each of the last two

games.

Atlanta has 59 assists on 82 field goals during that stretch

after Jeff Teague handed out a season-best 12 on Friday.

“We’re starting to find ourselves and figure out where our spots

are on the floor,” said Josh Smith, who had a season-best eight

assists against the Bobcats.

The Hawks’ last five-game winning streak began with a 107-98

road win over Los Angeles on Jan. 2, 2011 .

Atlanta could equal that mark if it continues its strong play on

the defensive end. The Hawks are limiting opponents to 89.8 points

per game on 41.0 percent shooting since their last defeat.

The Clippers are scoring 93.5 points per game – 6.7 fewer than

their season average – on 41.8 percent from the field over the last

two games.

Former Hawk Jamal Crawford has missed 19 of 31 shots during that

stretch with 33 points, but he’s still the league leader with 19.2

per game off the bench. Crawford wasn’t much of a factor in the

victory over Atlanta earlier this month, as he finished with 11

points, but it didn’t matter as the Hawks totaled their fewest

points of the season.

Blake Griffin, who is averaging 17.7 points and 8.7 boards on

the trip, finished with a season-best 36 points and eight rebounds

in the Clippers’ last trip to Atlanta, a 109-102 Hawks win on April

24.

Los Angeles, loser of five of six visiting the Hawks, hasn’t

swept this season series since 2005-06.