Clippers Put Escape Move on Hawks

The Clippers' Matt Barnes soar to the basket against the Atlanta Hawks. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman
The Clippers' Matt Barnes soar to the basket against the Atlanta Hawks. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman
The Clippers’ Matt Barnes soar to the basket against the Atlanta Hawks. The Clippers defeated the Hawks 109-108 at STAPLES Center. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

The Los Angeles Clippers-Atlanta Hawks scrapped with each other until the final buzzer claimed victory for the home team. This non Western Conference contest for the Clippers proved to be more about mettle than flash and the spectacular for Los Angeles.

This win wasn’t easy. It was more like bump-in-grind basketball-NBA-style as the Clippers held on for a 109-108 win against the Hawks at STAPLES Center.  This game would go back and forth. First, the Hawks seemed to come out the locker room in the first quarter as if they were not impressed with the Clippers’ stature among the NBA elite, establishing a 32-25 lead.

Of course, the Clippers responded with a better showing in the second period. The Clippers (44-20) then caught fire in the third quarter where they outpointed the Hawks 31-20 to take a commanding lead into the fourth period. Any thoughts that the Hawks (26-35) would lie down for the mighty Clippers was shot with every big shot that Kyle Korver( 17 points) made in the final period.

Jamal Crawford on the defense. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman
Jamal Crawford on the defense. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

The Clippers was actually rolling along with an 11-point lead until midway in the quarter. Like any NBA game a big lead can vanish just as quickly as you build them. The Clippers got served a lesson on that topic against the Hawks.

Blowouts in the NBA happen from time to time as evidenced by the Los Angeles Clippers’ 48-point thrashing of the Los Angeles Lakers.

But the more realistic scenario that plays out night in and night out is usually when the scoreboard reflect a highly competitive game. At the NBA level, guys have pride and the bottom line is that they all get paid as professional ballplayers, regardless if they are a household name or not.

The Hawks don’t have a human highlight reel performer that the Clippers have in Blake Griffin (27 points), nor do they the best point guard (Chris Paul) in the NBA that has been afforded to Los Angeles.

Not this time: DeAndre Jordan contests a last-second shot attempt by the Hawks' Jeff Teague. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman
Not this time: DeAndre Jordan contests a last-second shot attempt by the Hawks’ Jeff Teague. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

What the Hawks do have is a lot of grit and scrap in them.   That fighting spirit almost overcame the Clippers as the Hawks took Los Angeles down to the wire. Jeff Teague had an opportunity to send the game into overtime with 1.2 seconds left in the game. But the Hawks’ point guard flubbed the front end of two free throws, dictating the final outcome of the game.

It wasn’t a good night for Teague, who made only three of nine shot attempts from the field during the game.  As far as performance goes for the Clippers, center DeAndre Jordan continues to put up solid double-double numbers, recording 13 points and 12 rebounds.  Paul led the team in assists with 10.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1166 Articles

Dennis covers the NFL (Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a proud alum of Howard University.