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Hawks let another slip away to Clippers, 108-107

Hawks blow late lead for second time on road trip.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

One night after getting drubbed by the Lakers, the Hawks took the floor once again in the Staples Center, this time facing the Clippers. After a relatively strong finish to the December schedule, the Hawks dropped three straight road games to open the month of January but hoped to get back on track in tonight’s match-up.

Starting Lineups/Injuries

Hawks - PG Dennis Schroder, SG Kent Bazemore, SF Taurean Prince, PF Ersan Ilyasova, C Miles Plumlee

Clippers - PG Juwan Evans, SG Lou Williams, SF C.J. Williams, PF Wesley Johnson, C DeAndre Jordan.

Earlier in the day on Monday, Atlanta’s injury report listed Dewayne Dedmon (leg), Mike Muscala (ankle) and Taurean Prince (finger) as probable. While all three were able to play tonight, the big element is Dedmon’s return after missing nineteen games due to his injury. DeAndre’ Bembry (groin) was not available.

As they have been all season, the Clippers are dealing with a number of injuries. Tonight, they played without Blake Griffin (concussion), Milos Teodosic (foot), Danilo Gallinari (glute), Austin Rivers (achilles) as well as Patrick Beverly (knee) who is out for the season.

1st Quarter (Hawks 25, Clippers 32)

The Hawks struggled with execution on the defensive end from the beginning of the game allowing 32 points in the first quarter to a team playing without multiple starters. In the first quarter, the Clippers got seven points each from from a pair of rookie starters, Evans and C.J. Williams, both of whom are averaging less than six points per game this season. When the rookies weren’t scoring, Jordan was taking care of business with eight points and six rebounds in the period.

Atlanta managed 25 points on 11 of 24 shooting and were led by Taurean Prince with eight points. But struggles to get stops on defense resulted in a seven point deficit heading to the second period.

2nd Quarter (Hawks 22, Clippers 26)

To open the second period, the Hawks got three quick points to close the gap to 32-28, but the Clippers responded with a 7-1 lead to build the lead to ten points at 39-29. The Hawks struggled to make shots in the second period, both from the field (7/23) and from the free throw line (7/12). After falling behind by 15 at 52-37, the Hawks managed a 10-2 run to get back within seven. But the Clippers scored the final four points of the period to lead 58-47 at the half.

Jordan had 14 points and eight rebounds in the first half while Lou Williams scored 11 in the second period for a total of 13 points. Schroder led the Hawks with 12 first half points but had zero assists to go with two turnovers.

3rd Quarter (Hawks 30, Clippers 22)

Lou Williams continued his hot shooting in the third period scoring another eleven points before the mid-point of the quarter. But the Hawks were able to trade baskets and not allow the Clippers to open a larger lead.

The Hawks caught a break with 5:53 to go in the period when Jordan committed his fourth foul and headed to the bench. But less than a minute later, Schroder committed his fifth foul and went to the bench as well.

After Schroder went to the bench with his team down by 13, the Hawks finally took advantage of the Clippers using players deep off the bench to give their starters a breather. The Hawks outscored the Clippers 16-6 for the balance of the quarter to pull within three at 80-77 heading to the fourth quarter.

The Hawks turned up the intensity forcing eight turnovers in the period netting the Hawks 16 points off those turnovers for the period.

4th Quarter (Hawks 30, Clippers 28)

The energy level carried over to the fourth quarter as the Hawks opened the final period with a 14-6 run to take the lead and then run it up to 91-84. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers put Jordan back in the game with 9:12 to go. The immediate result was a two-pointer from Jordan and a three from Lou Williams to lose the gap to 91-89 with 7:36 to play.

A quick 6-2 run for the Hawks increased the lead to 97-91 but the Clippers responded with and 8-2 run of their own to tie the game at 99-99 with 3:35 to play which prompted a timeout from Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer.

After the timeout, Kent Bazemore scored on a backdoor cut then hit a corner three two possessions later giving the Hawks a 104-99 lead with 2:11 to play.

The Hawks used the hack approach putting Jordan on the free throw line late in the game even though the Hawks were leading. Jordan punished the Hawks by making five of six to pull the Clippers within one point with 1:08 to play.

The road team immediately turned the ball over and fouled Evans who made one of two free throws to tie the game at 105-15 with 1:05 to play. After the Hawks missed a layup on the next possession, the Clippers called a timeout with 51.6 second to go.

The Hawks managed to get a stop then get to the offensive end where Bazemore hit two free throws to give the Hawks a 107-105 lead with 23.2 seconds remaining.

After the Clippers used their final timeout C.J. Williams hit a three pointer with 9.1 seconds remaining. The shot came after a Lou Williams miss and a Clippers’ offensive rebound.

The Hawks then used a timeout and advanced the ball. Prince missed an elbow jumper and the Hawks fell with a final score of 108-107.

Lou Williams led the Clippers with 34 while Jordan added 25 points and 18 rebounds. Prince led the Hawks with 20, Schroder scored 18 but posted just one assist with four turnovers for the game.

Big Man Rotation

The return of Dedmon shuffled the Hawks’ big man rotation. Plumlee got the start with Dedmon coming off the bench. John Collins was the odd man out for at least tonight getting just eight minutes of playing time, all in the first half.

Looking Ahead

The Hawks wrap up this five game Western Conference road trip in Denver on Wednesday night before returning home to play the Nets on Friday night. The match-up with the Nets kicks off the Hawks’ longest home stand of the season (six games) and begins a stretch when the Hawks play nine of their next ten games at home.

Stay tuned.