The Atlanta Hawks have enjoyed a great deal of success during the 2016-2017 season but Wednesday evening’s performance in Los Angeles was not the team’s finest hour. To that end, the Hawks limped to the finish in a 99-84 loss to the Clippers and, with that, Atlanta will hit the All-Star break on a low note.
While the Hawks actually held a 22-21 lead at the end of the first quarter, that window of optimism was short lived. The Clippers zoomed to an 11-2 run early in the second quarter and, in short order, the home team led by double figures. That separation was created when Los Angeles shot 61 percent from the floor in the second quarter on the way to 33 points and the Hawks never recovered.
After halftime, the results were slightly better but the Clippers managed to keep a safe distance that included a margin as wide as 22 points. The Hawks were unable to mount a serious charge down the stretch and that was illustrated in the fact that every active player appeared for at least eight minutes for Atlanta.
Offensively, Mike Budenholzer’s team was a mess throughout the evening. Atlanta shot just 27 percent from three-point range (and 41 percent from the floor) but, beyond that, the Hawks turned the ball over 20 times and scored at a rate of 87.2 points per 100 possessions. The defensive end was slightly kinder (102.8 points per 100 allowed) but aside from an 11-point, 15-rebound showing from Dwight Howard, there was little to write home about.
The Atlanta Hawks will now enjoy a lengthy break before reopening the season on Friday, Feb. 24 with a home date against the Miami Heat. Until then, Paul Millsap will be spending the weekend in New Orleans as an All-Star and the rest of the squad will be on hiatus. Stay tuned.