Clippers storm past Hawks in 4th quarter
Posted at: 11/11/2012 9:05 PM
By JOE RESNICK
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Blake Griffin scored 16 points, Chris Paul had 15 points and eight assists and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Atlanta Hawks 89-76 on Sunday.
Jamal Crawford, who won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2010 while playing for Atlanta, had 11 points after coming in with a team-high 21.8 average _ tops among the league’s reserves. Fifth-year center DeAndre Jordan, coming off the first back-to-back 20-point games of his NBA career, finished with eight points.
Josh Smith had a team-high 13 points for the Hawks, who shot 41.7 percent from the field in the opener of a four-game road trip. Atlanta also committed 22 turnovers that were converted into 24 Clippers points.
Coming off consecutive victories over the Lakers and San Antonio, the Clippers took a 65-60 lead into the fourth. Neither team led by more than six until Matt Barnes stole the ball from Ivan Johnson and raced down the floor for a breakaway dunk that gave Los Angeles a 70-62 lead with 10:10 remaining.
Lou Williams hit a short jumper at the other end, but the Clippers responded with 15-1 run led by Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and Barnes to build an 85-65 cushion with 3:49 to play. Barnes converted a dunk and a layup on fast breaks after turnovers by Smith, as the Hawks coughed up the ball 10 times in the final quarter while going almost 6 minutes without a field goal. To make matters worse, they missed nine of 16 free-throw attempts in the game.
The Clippers, who tied a franchise record by scoring 100 or more points in six straight games to start the season, led 39-37 at halftime. Paul eluded Jeff Teague with a slick crossover dribble at the free-throw line and drove the lane for an uncontested layup that gave them a 35-32 lead with 2:41 left in the second quarter.
NOTES: Backup center Ryan Hollins picked up three fouls in a 4 1/2-minute span and returned to the Clippers’ bench with 10:06 left in the first half. ... Shaquille O’Neal watched the game from a front-row seat at midcourt with his daughter Amira, but he said he wasn’t sticking around for the Lakers-Sacramento game that followed. During Thursday night’s TNT coverage of the Clippers’ game at Portland, O’Neal said he thought Jordan was the best center in the Western Conference _ Dwight Howard notwithstanding. ... The Clippers have two days off before hosting Miami on Wednesday night. Since moving to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 campaign, they are 18-68 against teams that won an NBA title the previous season. ... Longtime Clippers publicist Rob Raichlen is leaving the organization following Wednesday’s game to take a job with Mattel and spent more time with his family. ... Saturday marked exactly 42 years since the first meeting between these two franchises, when the Hawks lost 134-118 to the expansion Buffalo Braves. Bob Kauffman had 35 points for the Braves, who held rookie phenom "Pistol" Pete Maravich to 16.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)