1. Hawks guard Trae Young scored 13 of his team-high 30 points in the fourth quarter - and came up big when the team needed him the most in the final two minutes.
- Young’s floater gave the Hawks (who trailed by 11 entering the fourth quarter) a 108-106 lead in final two minutes.
-Kawhi Leonard responded with a layup to tie game at 108 before Young scored again and - after a missed shot by Clippers which was rebounded by John Collins - added two free throws with 5.7 seconds left to secure the win.
Young’s 30-point game with his third in the four games on the West Coast, and he also had four rebounds and five assists.
“Yeah, we wanted to get some movement in our action in our offense and I thought he did a good job of getting us into our sets, looking to attack and closing,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “A guy like that, you know, he’s really one of our closers, and we’re going to put the ball in his hands and allow him to make decisions. And I thought tonight, he made some good reads and he was able to to finish.”
2. The Hawks knew they needed to limit Leonard’s offensive touches and even though he scored a team-high 29 points for the Clippers, he was an inefficient 9-of-23 from the floor in the face of tough defense from the Hawks’ DeAndre Hunter.
With the Hawks leading by two in the final minute, Hunter remained locked in to Leonard - not falling for a series of head fakes and contesting a shot which bounced off the rim and rebounded by Collins, leading to Young’s game-sealing free throws.
“Just to be locked in,” Hunter said of his approach to guarding Leonard. “He’s a guy I used to watch a lot in college (and) high school. So I just knew that he was, you know, he’s Kawhi. So I just had to be locked in. I’m the defender on the team. I knew I was gonna have that assignment and just had to play hard.”
3. After scoring five points in the first three games out West, second-year forward Jalen Johnson had 11 points in eight minutes of the first half and 13 overall. Included in the first-half spurt was a layup and a couple of three-pointers, sorely needed as the second unit helped keep the Hawks in the game in the first half.
“I thought he was just calm,” McMillan said. “I thought he played a really solid game. He allowed the game to come to him. When the ball was rotated to him, he didn’t hesitate. He shot the ball with confidence, knocked down his shots (and) was able to get on the glass.
“Defensively, he gives us a length. That was the reason I really wanted to get him in the lineup is to try to help when we had Onyeka (Okongwu) out of the game, pairing him with Frank (Kaminsky), pairing him with John (Collins) to try to get some size, some type of length in there to help defend and rebound and I thought he played really good minutes both halves.”
4. The Hawks led by 14 points heading into the locker room at halftime after finally finding a rhythm in the second quarter. But they could not find the same spark when they returned to start the second half.
The Hawks made just seven of their 21 overall field goal attempts as the Clippers clamped down and limited the team’s ball movement. The Hawks just could not buy a bucket as the the Clippers clogged the lane and forced them to shoot off their marks.
On top of that, the Hawks’ struggles on the glass flared as they allowed the Clippers to pull down five offensive rebounds, three of which occurred in a one minute span. The Hawks gave up eight second-chance points in the third quarter and would go on to give up 21 second chance points by the end of the night.
“Well, they do what good teams do,” McMillan said. “They come out, they came out much more aggressive in that third quarter, looking to attack more and they won that third quarter. They had a big third quarter, 35 points. But I thought we stayed with it. They made their run and then we were able to execute in that fourth quarter to make our run and eventually win the game.”
5. The Hawks scored 41 points in second quarter and finished the game with five players in double figures. Ball movement ultimately led to open shot attempts -- many of which were successful -- and the quarter ended with thunderous dunks by Hunter and Collins.
Stat to know
750 -- tonight’s win over the Clippers marks Nate McMillan’s 750th career regular-season win. That is the fourth-most among active coaches.
“Next play. I don’t remember to score but still was a close game, still had a lot of stops to get. So, I was worried about was just next play.” -- De’Andre Hunter on his transition dunk off a steal of Nic Batum
The Hawks return to State Farm Arena where they host the Bucks for the final time in the regular season.