Just when all seemed in their favor, the world outside the Staples Center has proven difficult for the Los Angeles Clippers. With tonight’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks 104-93, the Clippers drop to 8-5 and have lost 3 straight games on the road.
When the game first began, there was no sign of Clippers struggle and in fact, seemed as if it was going to be a Blake Griffin showcase. At the end of the first quarter, Griffin had 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists (almost 5).
But it soon became apparent that the Hawks had done their homework. Rather than allowing the Clippers to take advantage of their pick-and-roll maneuvers that have been so effective, the Hawks took a strong defensive stance and forced Griffin and Paul to take more jump shots. In the end, the Hawks held the Clippers to 42.7% from the field.
For the Clippers, Blake Griffin led the team with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists. Chris Paul followed with 19 points, 7 assists, and 7 steals. Both Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe put up 12 points.
For the Hawks, Zaza Pachulia had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jeff Teague had 19 points and 11 assists, and bench-player Louis Williams put up 18 points and 5 assists. Tonight’s victory makes 5 straight wins for the Hawks.
In the end, the Clippers were simply outplayed. Both the starters and the bench. You just cannot allow a team to outscore you 30-17 in the second quarter and expect an easy return. Not even the deepest bench in the NBA could help tonight. Hopefully a homecoming on Monday against the New Orleans Hornets will light that Clippers fire once again.