Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, left, receives an inbound pass while Los Angeles Clippers guard Rodney McGruder defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Photo: Kelvin Kuo/AP
Photo: Kelvin Kuo/AP

Hawks can’t stop Paul George, fall to Clippers

On the first night of their back-to-back games in Los Angeles, the Hawks (4-8) struggled mightily in a 150-101 loss to the Clippers (8-5) late Saturday night.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. It’s hard to imagine a rougher start for the Hawks than falling behind 20-3 with 8:20 to play in the first quarter. They only had one field goal (a 3-pointer by Jabari Parker) until a layup by Trae Young (who finished with 20 points and six assists) at the 7:13 mark and trailed 43-30 at the end of the first. The Clippers couldn’t really miss in the first quarter, shooting 59.3%, adding four 3-pointers. In the second quarter, the Hawks settled in, with a DeAndre’ Bembry to Damian Jones alley-oop bringing them within four points with 7:33 left before halftime, before the Clippers went on a 12-2 run to stifle the Hawks’ rhythm and take a 12-point advantage at the half.  Young on the blowout loss: “They made plays, we didn’t stop them. And it was just bad effort. It’s something you can’t do in this league or you’ll get killed every night. We know we can’t do that.”

2. With about nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter and the Clippers leading by 35, fans in Staples Center started the wave. That’s to say, this one certainly got out of hand in the second half. The Clippers outscored the Hawks 38-20 in the third quarter (with the Hawks scoring just five points in the last six minutes), and outscored them 38-19 in the fourth. The Clippers shot 53.8% from the field and 51.5% from 3-point range (the Hawks made 6 of 24 3’s, or 25%). There wasn’t much competition, and that’s frustrating to Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce: “The big thing is stay together. And the beauty of our sport, when you play 82 games, is you have another one tomorrow night. There’s not time, there’s no need, there’s no room for anyone to hang their heads. We all have to get better. We have to bring (competition) tomorrow. We just didn’t compete and that’s frustrating.”

3. In his second game back this season, the Hawks had a hard time containing Paul George, who had 25 points (and four 3-pointers) by halftime. He finished with 37 points, four rebounds, two steals and three assists in just 20 minutes, shooting 58.8% from the field, going 6-for-11 from 3-point range (54.5%) and getting to the line, making 11 of 11 free throws. George checked out with 9:58 left in the fourth quarter, with the Clippers leading 119-83. 

4. With John Collins suspended, Kevin Huerter hurt and Vince Carter out for personal reasons, the Hawks could use every single body they can get. Evan Turner, playing in his first game since Oct. 28 (he had been sidelined with left Achilles pain), didn’t show much rust, and had 11 points, five rebounds and two steals. Allen Crabbe, who underwent right knee arthroscopy April 4, had five points and two rebounds in the loss. Crabbe had played 15 minutes in the loss to Phoenix Thursday, his first appearance of the season, adding two points and four rebounds. Chandler Parsons was active but did not play.

5. The Hawks were out-rebounded 53-38, losing the battle of the boards in a big way. Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green each had nine rebounds for the Clippers. Jabari Parker led the Hawks in rebounding with eight, and is averaging 6.4 rebounds per game this season.

By the numbers

37.8% (the percentage the Hawks shot from the field, their season low so far)

Quotable

“He’s one of the toughest dudes to guard in the league. He’s tough. Both rookies had the task of guarding him, and it’s hard guarding him one-on-one. And so you’ve just got to hope he has an off night sometimes.” (Young on the tough task of trying to contain George)

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