The Los Angeles Clippers are looking to avoid a sub.-500
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
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
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
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
Los Angeles, loser of five of six visiting the Hawks, hasn’t
swept this season series since 2005-06.