Entering the game on an eight-game winning streak, the Atlanta Hawks (22-21) saw their streak put on ice following a 22-point comeback win by the Los Angeles Clippers (28-16). Down big halfway through the third quarter, the Clippers fought back Monday night to defeat the Hawks 119-110 at Staples Center in one of their biggest comeback victories of the season.
With nearly six minutes left in the third quarter, head coach Tyrone Lue turned to his bench to help ignite the comeback. Lead by shooting guards Luke Kennard and Terrance Mann, the duo helped trimmed a 22-point deficit by chipping in 21 and 20 points, respectively on the night.
Scoring all of his points in the second half and going a perfect 8 for 8 from the field, including banking in a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter, Kennard provided an effective spark in his 18 minutes of play.
“They all came in and got us back in the game,” Lue said. “You’re looking for energy, you’re looking for life. The guys got off to a slow start to start the game. It was a total team effort, a total team win”
Early in the first half, the Clippers defense seemed to lack the energy and effort needed to stop young Hawks superstar Trae Young. After scoring 20 of his 28 points in the first half, the defense stepped up the second half on Young as they trapped the guard higher up on the court preventing him from unleashing his deadly shot from beyond the arc.
Speaking on the defense adjustment that was made on Young during the second half, Lue was pleased to see his team’s effort in practice pan out during a game.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a while. Something we have in our back pocket that we’ve been working on heading into the playoffs,” Lue said.
Despite being frustrated with his team’s play throughout the first half, Lue felt guard Terrance Mann provided the team with the drive and determination needed to help lead the team’s comeback.
“His energy and effort, I think when he rebounds the basketball he can attack in transition,” Lue said. “I thought Terrance was fantastic tonight.”
Mann, who ended the night with a double-double that included 10 rebounds, was proud of his teammate’s effort despite the lack of energy to start the game.
“I was proud of everyone’s effort to turn the game around,” Mann said. “I was just proud of everybody tonight.”
For his fellow bench mate Luke Kennard, tonight’s game was possibly one of his favorite games to ever play in.
“This is one of the top-2 most fun games I’ve ever played in,” Kennard said. “We just played the right way. We played hard and we started to get stops on the defensive end,” Kennard added.
As the bench picked up the slow start for the starters, it was superstar Kawhi Leonard who provided the final two daggers in the final minutes of the game to complete the comeback and bring an end to the Hawks winning streak.
With the monumental comeback complete, the Clippers hope they can find some consistency heading into the final months of the regular season as they currently sit fourth in the Western Conference.
The Clippers will head to San Antonio to face the Spurs in a back-to-back set, with the first game coming on Wednesday with a 5:30 p.m. tip. Los Angeles lost their first home meeting against the Spurs earlier in the season 106-103, as they look to exact some revenge in the Lone Star state.
Featured Image: Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard goes up for a block shot attempt against the Atlanta Hawks in a game played Monday, March 22, 2021. The Clippers defeated the Hawks, 119-110. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline