Court Vision: Hawks sweep Clippers, win seventh consecutive road contest
Going inside the Hawks’ 107-98 victory over the Clippers on Monday in Los Angeles, their fifth straight.
The Hawks wanted nothing to do with Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan in the first half.
Jordan ranked third in the league with 2.32 blocks per game entering action on Monday, and pulled down 13.6 rebounds per game, the best average in the NBA. Atlanta was happy to stay on the perimeter and attempt to score.
Only 12 of the Hawks’ first-half points were scored in the paint, five of those off fast-break opportunities. Atlanta kept pace early on by moving the ball around the outside well, and knocking down long-distance shots.
Led by DeMarre Carroll’s 2-for-3 shooting, and Kyle Korver’s 3-for-5 first half, the Hawks nailed seven 3-pointers and finished the first half by shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.
The successful three-point shooting was absolutely necessary because the Hawks shot only 35.7 percent (15 for 42) from the floor in the first half, and made just 7 of 13 (53.8 percent) free throws.
Atlanta was down 46-44 at halftime. But it would have been devastatingly worse had the Hawks not been sharp-shooting.
With 20 points on Monday, Jeff Teague posted his fifth consecutive game where he scored 20 points or more. This is the second time this season he’s pulled off that feat, as he posted 25.8 points per game over a five-game stretch from Nov. 18-28.
But Teague didn’t start off too hot.
Teague shot just 40 percent from the floor (2 for 5) in the first half, and turned the ball over twice. He had only one turnover in his last two games combined, so not only was Teague’s shooting off, his ball handling was as well.
Call Atlanta’s point guard the king of the halftime adjustments.
Teague came out in the third quarter on fire. He scored 12 points (4 for 8 from the floor, 2 for 3 from three-point range), grabbed two rebounds, pulled down four assists and tallied one steal.
With his 20 points on Monday, Teague has averaged 23.2 points per game over his last five games, and 8.2 assists.
Atlanta’s defense kept this team in the game on Monday, and held on long enough for the Hawks’ offense to eventually find a rhythm.
One of the keys for Atlanta’s defense was forcing turnovers.
Prior to the game, the Hawks boasted two players in the top 11 in the NBA in steals: Paul Millsap (1.88 per game, sixth) and Teague (1.7, 11th). They both — along with a gang of helpers — kept the thieving ways going.
Teague came away with four steals against the Clippers, while Millsap had two. But they weren’t the only Hawks doing their part. Seven players combined for 13 steals, with 10 coming in the second half.
The Hawks scored 23 points off turnovers (21.5 percent of their points), and outscored the Clippers 63-52 in the second half in large part to the increased defensive activity.
7: Not only have the Hawks won their last seven road games, they’ve been pushing home teams around. Atlanta has held a double-digit lead at some point in each of its last seven road games.
10: The Hawks missed 10 free throws on Monday. Prior to action against the Clippers, Atlanta ranked ninth in the NBA with a 77.6 percent success rate from the free-throw line.
12-5: With their seventh consecutive road win, the Hawks moved to 12-5 on the road this season, the best road start to a season in franchise history.