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Hawks blow 22-point third-quarter lead, lose 119-110 to Clippers

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The streak finally came to an end, in heartbreaking fashion.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks took on the Los Angeles Clippers Monday evening searching for their ninth straight win. Notably, this was the De’Andre Hunter return game, as the Hawks young forward had been out since Jan. 29th with a knee injury.

Despite leading by 22 points late in the third quarter, Atlanta was not able to bring home the win. The Clippers second unit went on a spirited run that spanned from late in the third quarter into the fourth, and Kawhi Leonard did the rest, leading them to a 119-110 win.

Trae Young had 28 points and eight assists in the loss, while John Collins had 23 points and seven rebounds. Clint Capela tallied 12 points and 14 rebounds. Hunter had eight points in 20 minutes in his return.

Leonard had 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the comeback win, while Paul George had just eight points and seven assists.

Los Angeles got off to a hot start, as they led 9-2, then 21-11 in the first quarter.

Atlanta mounted a 16-5 (9-0 to go out in front) run from there to take a one-point lead late in the first.

The Hawks trailed the Clippers by one point heading to the second, but overall it was a solid quarter considering Los Angeles threatened to mount a significant lead early.

Marcus Morris Sr. lead all scorers with 13 first-quarter points, while Young led Atlanta with seven points and three assists.

Atlanta went on an 11-0 spurt early in the second, holding a 41-34 lead at the 7:45 mark.

Young exploded late in the second, which turned out to be a 13-point quarter for him. The Hawks extended their overall run to 52-27 since they fell down double digits in the first quarter. They closed the half on a 15-5 run, which was largely powered by Young.

Young led all scorers with 20 points at the break, while Collins and Capela both scored 10 points in the first half.

Leonard had 11 points in the opening two quarters, while George posted five points and three assists. Morris Sr. led Los Angeles scorers with 14 points before half, while Ivica Zubac posted 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Clippers mounted an 8-0 run early in the third, but a John Collins three-point play at the rim halted the momentum change, putting the Hawks back up 71-56.

A pair of buckets from Tony Snell put Atlanta up 80-59 at the 6:29 mark in the third, their largest lead of the game to that point.

Atlanta led 88-66 a few moments later, but a 13-0 push from the Clippers bench cut the margin back to nine points late in the third.

Luke Kennard got red-hot late in the quarter, scoring 13 points in six minutes of play, including a halfcourt shot to end the quarter that cut the Hawks lead to just eight points heading to the fourth, as Atlanta scored just two points in the final four minutes of the period.

Kennard made all eight of his shots in the game and had 20 points in 18 minutes. Terance Mann was also huge in this comeback for Los Angeles, posting 21 points and ten rebounds off the bench.

The Los Angeles second unit continued to claw back early in the fourth, as they got as close as four points away from notching even with the Hawks before the starters came back in.

Leonard cut the lead back to four again with an and-one take to the basket with 5:52 remaining. The Hawks called timeout after the free throw with a 103-99 lead. The Clippers extended their run to 10-0 after the timeout, knotting the score at 103.

Young gave the Hawks the lead again with a deep three with 3:24 to go, giving the Hawks a 108-105 edge. Los Angeles however responded with a quick 11-0 explosion to retake the lead. Leonard hit a dagger three to make the score 116-108 with 1:23 to go.

The Hawks were unable to rally from there, losing 119-110. All told, the Clippers outscored the Hawks by a 53-22 margin in the final 16 minutes.

The streak is over, and they will move on to Sacramento for a matchup with the Kings Wednesday evening.