Hawks snap skid by besting Clippers
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Joe Johnson scored 27 points and the Atlanta Hawks defeated the LA Clippers, 86-74.
Zaza Pachulia scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Hawks, who ended an eight-game losing skid with the win.
Elton Brand scored 26 points and raked in seven boards for the Clippers, who have dropped three of four. Tim Thomas scored 14 points and grabbed six boards for LA.
Brand scored six straight points to bring LA to within 72-67 with 5:32 left, but Johnson answered with a jumper, and Pachulia converted a three-point play to put Atlanta up 77-67 with 3:25 to play, and the Clippers never threatened again.
"You've got to have a sense of urgency on the road to pull out these ballgames," said Brand. "We're missing some opportunites to get back in the race."
A Pachulia jumper pushed the Atlanta lead to 51-40 midway through the third quarter, and a Johnson three-point play put the Hawks up 12, at 60-48, with 4:41 left in the third. The Clippers fought back, though, and two Shaun Livingston free throws sent LA into the fourth quarter trailing only 64-59.
The Clippers ran their offense almost exclusively through Brand in the first quarter, but it wasn't enough to keep pace with the Hawks. The former Duke star scored LA's first 12 points, knotting the game at 12-12 on a jumper with 5:17 left. Johnson answered with three jumpers, two from behind the arc, and Atlanta ended the first quarter up 25-16.
"We focus mostly on defense," said Johnson. "Our defense translated into good offense with the steals and rebounds. We have to continue to play like that."
Two Damon Stoudamire jumpers early in the second quarter stretched the Atlanta advantage to 29-18, but the Clippers came back with 10 straight points, capped by a Chris Kaman layup to pull the Hawks to within 29-28 with 5:37 left. Atlanta stretched its lead back out to eight points, but Brand hit a fadeaway in the waning seconds of the first half to bring the Clippers to within 42-36 at the intermission.
LA fell to 3-13 on the road this season...The Clippers had won six straight over the Hawks...LA played without Sam Cassel, who is day-to-day with plantar fasciitis of left heel.ATL LAC