5 things: Clippers sneak past Hawks
LOS ANGELES — Doc Rivers’ yelling shook the walls of Staples Center’s postgame press conference room.
Moments after the Los Angeles Clippers’ 109-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the Clippers coach dug into his team.
Despite winning a thriller — the Clippers’ seventh in a row — Rivers was disappointed with his squad’s 18 turnovers and poor execution down the stretch.
"I don’t like turnovers, period," Rivers said. "You’re going to have some, but I thought ours were unforced. A lot of them were too casual."
With the playoffs approaching, and two potential first-round matchups — the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors — in town next week, the Clippers certainly need to address some of their recent carelessness offensively.
"I almost felt like we lost in that locker room because I think we expect a lot from ourselves, but at the end of the day, the name of the game is win the game," Chris Paul said. "So, obviously we’re happy we won, but there are a lot of things that we need to clean up."
Still, the Clippers will take the win.
"I don’t think you ever get lucky," Rivers said. "You win or you lose, and so we won the game."
— Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) March 9, 2014
Here are five takeaways from tonight’s game:
The streak lives on
Blake Griffin continued his Clippers record of 23 straight games with 20-plus points, bulldozing his way to 27 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. The Hawks had no answer for him inside, and Griffin’s two baskets late ultimately prevented Atlanta from pulling ahead. The only blemishes on his performance were his seven turnovers and two missed free throws with 13 seconds left.
Rounding into form
A month after returning from his separated shoulder injury, Chris Paul is finally regaining his shooting touch. He scored 19 points (7 of 14 shooting) and dished out 10 assists Saturday, making a clutch go-ahead layup in transition with 54.6 seconds remaining. He has been more aggressive looking for his shot lately, which generally bodes well for Los Angeles.
The Hawks came in losers of 13 of their last 14 games, and had especially been struggling on the offensive end during that stretch. Against the Clippers, though, they shot 50 percent from the field, made 12 3-pointers and were essentially one missed free throw away from overtime. The Suns and Warriors are much better teams offensively, so the Clippers need to shore up their D.
Dominating the paint
The Clippers outscored the Hawks 60-40 in the paint, which heavily tilted the game in L.A.’s favor. While Atlanta flung jumper after jumper in hopes of narrowing the deficit, the Clippers dominated the restricted area and had a much easier time scoring.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Danny Granger picked up where they left off from the Lakers game, providing key contributions off the bench. Granger had 7 points in 15 minutes, while Davis had 4 points and 4 rebounds in 14 minutes, including some impressive defense in crunch time. So far, so good.