Hawks beat Clippers 107-98 for 7th straight road victory
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks just keep rolling on the road.
They pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-98 Monday night and earn their seventh straight road victory for the first time in 21 years.
They have been doing it by building double-digit leads on opponents’ floors.
"We really can’t control the crowd and a lot of stuff, so we just go out there and do the best we can," said Al Horford, who had 16 points for the East-leading Hawks. "Coach always stresses the importance of defending and rebounding, and I feel like we’ve been doing a good job of that."
Paul Millsap scored 23 points, Jeff Teague added 20, and DeMarre Carroll had 17 points and eight rebounds in Atlanta’s fifth straight win overall and 19th in 21 games.
"Right now, Atlanta has unshakable confidence," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Not so for the Clippers, who fell to 7-10 against teams that currently have winning records.
"Defensively, we have no presence," said Chris Paul, who had 10 points and 10 assists before fouling out with 1:50 to play.
Blake Griffin had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Clippers, whose biggest lead of nine came at the start of the game. DeAndre Jordan added 15 points and 16 rebounds, and J.J. Redick had 14 points as the team’s three-game winning streak ended.
"If we knew exactly what we need to address," Griffin said, hesitating to find the words. "It’s just not something we can snap our fingers and fix."
Dennis Schroder’s driving layup gave the Hawks the game’s first double-digit lead, 82-72, early in the fourth. It came near the start of an 18-6 run that extended their advantage to 95-78, largest of the game. Schroder had seven points, Pero Antic five, and Millsap four in the spurt.
"We weren’t executing and making good decisions early, but our defense put us in a position where we could kind of hang around and keep it at six or eight," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We made a little run at the end of the second quarter, then the defense maintained its place, and offensively we got into a little bit of a rhythm."
The Clippers committed six of their season-high 21 turnovers in the fourth, when the Hawks had one. Atlanta shot 48 percent from 3-point range, and the Clippers were held to 28 percent.
"We missed a lot of open shots and were very lax with the ball," Rivers said. "We lost the game because we turned the ball over and gave them easy shots. We were forcing a lot of passes."
Griffin made one of two free throws to tie it 67-all late in the third before the Hawks scored 10 of the last 12 points to take a 77-69 lead going into the fourth. Carroll had six in the spurt. Griffin and Paul both picked up their fourth fouls in the quarter when the Clippers briefly led by two.
The Clippers’ turnovers led to 23 points by the Hawks, who came in averaging 26.5 in four previous games.
Hawks: They had 13 steals. … The last time they won seven straight road games was Nov. 17-Dec. 22, 1993. … Their bench was 1 for 12 from the field in the first half. … Atlanta has won eight straight against West foes, equaling their streak from Oct. 31-Nov. 18, 1997. … They snapped a three-game skid against the Clippers at Staples Center. … They won the season series 2-0, having taken a three-point victory at home less than two weeks ago.
Clippers: Former Laker Dennis Rodman sat behind the team’s bench. … They shot 50 percent from the field in the opening quarter before dipping to 36 percent in the second. … Informed that he remains Atlanta’s franchise assists leader with 3,866, Rivers joked, "Atlanta has not had a lot of good players." Rivers played for the Hawks from 1983-91 at the start of his NBA career.
Schroder had all seven of his points in the fourth after going 0 of 4 in the first half.
"It’s great for him as a young player to stick with it," Budenholzer said. "He’s a very confident young man, and he made some big plays. He also did well defensively. We’re trying to do it as a team, and different guys at different moments are finding ways to help us."
Like Griffin, Jordan can’t quite put his finger on why the Clippers struggle against the NBA’s best teams especially defensively.
"You see it in spurts of us having the right tools to be a defensive team," Jordan said. "Then there’s times where we look like we don’t know what we’re doing."
Hawks: Host Memphis on Wednesday.
Clippers: Host Lakers on Wednesday.