Clippers Lose To Hawks, 107-98, After Poor Second Half

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Joe Johnson scored a team-high 29 points, and the Atlanta Hawks used a big fourth quarter to get past the Los Angeles Clippers, 107-98, at the Staples Center. Jamal Crawford finished with 24 points off the bench, while Josh Smith chipped in 22 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which has won three of its last four overall, but only three of its last 10 tries on the road. "I told our guys at the half we have to go out and run more and we did that," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said. "We did a good job with our adjustments."

Blake Griffin posted his 21st straight double-double with 31 points and 15 boards for the Clippers, who have lost two straight and three of five overall. Baron Davis ended with 15 points in defeat. "You can't give a team like that more possessions," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Their execution was better in the second half. The game came easy to us in the first half. We need to learn how to take our game to the next level."

Trailing 83-76 with 8:41 left in the fourth, the Hawks began a 15-2 run when Smith's dunk and three-pointer bookended three free throws by Crawford. Johnson's turnaround jumper midway through the quarter put Atlanta in the lead by a point and the Hawks extended that lead six at 91-85 on another jumper by Johnson. Griffin's two foul shots at the 3:00 mark drew the Clippers to within two, 94-92, but Crawford hit a long jumper from the left side and after a defensive stop, Al Horford's putback had Atlanta ahead by a 98-92 margin with 1:23 left.

The Hawks cruised the rest of the way. Randy Foye's two buckets finished the scoring in the first quarter and gave the Clippers a 31-18 lead after 12 minutes. Los Angeles stretched its margin to 16 twice, the second time at 45-29 after Eric Gordon hit a jumper with 5:09 left in the half. Smith drained two from the stripe with under a minute to play to cut the Atlanta deficit to single digits at 49-40.

Two Davis free throws with three seconds remaining gave the Clippers a 53-42 advantage heading into the locker room. Ryan Gomes hit a three-pointer to put LA up 74-63 with 2:46 left in the third. However, the Hawks scored seven straight to end the quarter and make it a four-point game heading into the fourth.

Atlanta swept the home-and-home series between the two clubs last season and has won five of six overall versus the Clippers...Gomes, Gordon and Eric Bledsoe each finished with 10 points for LA, which shot 46.3 percent from the field...Atlanta made 45.7 percent of its shots and 8-of-18 from three-point range.

For more Clippers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Clips Nation.

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