Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
The Hawks rolled over the Clippers in Atlanta with a 104-93 win behind big games from Zaza Pachulia (19/12), Jeff Teague (19/11), and Lou Williams (18/5).
The Hawks started slowly, but jumped on the Clippers in the second quarter and coasted to a 104-93 victory. The Clippers took a 24-21 lead after the first quarter behind Blake Griffin's 11 points, four rebounds, and four assists, but the Hawks were able to keep the game close and got more aggressive in the second quarter. Lou Williams and Jeff Teague each had nine points in the second quarter and were extremely effective getting into the lane. Ivan Johnson had four boards off the bench and Zaza Pachulia had seven points, taking advantage of easy looks off penetration by Williams and Teague.
Atlanta outscored the Clippers 30-17 in the second, despite Griffin's best efforts, and the Hawks ball movement picked up as they had nine assists on 11 made shots (they shot 61.1%). The Hawks defense did a much better job protecting the rim in the second, and forced the Clippers to shoot the ball from the outside in the quarter, limiting them to just 6-of-18 (33.3%) from the field.
The Hawks pushed their lead to 25 after a great third quarter in which they outscored L.A. 34-19, and out-rebounded the Clippers 11-5. Josh Smith (who played just five minutes in the first half due to foul trouble) was very aggressive and played all 12 minutes of the third quarter, scoring 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and 2-of-3 from the foul line. Smoove came out and attacked the basket, never taking a shot outside eight-feet from the hoop. Teague and Pachulia continued to be active and make major contributions (Teague 7/4, Pachulia 6/5).
The Clippers made a run to cut the Hawks lead to just 10, but Atlanta responded and was able to cruise to a comfortable win. Smoove had seven points in the fourth including a three-pointer at the end of the shot-clock midway through the quarter that gave the Hawks a 14-point cushion, as well as a dunk over Blake Griffin that put an emphatic stamp on the victory. Smith ended with 17 (all in the second half) and seemed to respond well to his benching in the first half.
Zaza Pachulia finished the game with 19 points and 12 boards, while Jeff Teague added 19 points and 11 assists. Lou Williams came off the bench for 18 points and five dimes to give the Hawks second unit a spark. Ivan Johnson and Al Horford were strong on the glass with Ivan having seven boards in 16 minutes, while Al had eight, including three offensive, to go with 10 points. Atlanta shot 50.7% from the field and shot 21-of-26 from the charity stripe (80.8%) which was a vast improvement over their recent free throw woes. The Hawks have now won five games in a row and move to 8-4 on the season with a lengthy home-stand over the next two weeks against teams that are a combined 17-32 (Charlotte, Cleveland (w/o Kyrie), Denver, and Washington).