The Hawks will got to bed sore again after faltering late and falling to the Clippers, 127-119, Monday night at State Farm Arena.
The Clippers went on a 15-2 fourth-quarter run, with former Hawks forward Mike Scott hitting two 3-pointers, to pull away. His corner 3-pointer with 2:54 gave the Clippers a seven-point lead, 117-110, and all but secured the win. He later added another 3-pointer with 1:29 left to add insult to injury and give the Clippers a 122-114 lead.
The Hawks (3-14) have lost eight straight and 12 of their last 13 games despite a 15-point third quarter lead.
“I damn sure hope these are growing pains because these are tough losses to swallow,” said John Collins, who had 18 points in 20 minutes in his second game back from an ankle injury that kept him out of the first 15 games. “Being up 14 and giving that one away, it hurts me. It hurts the team. Just to know we did so much and threw it away, shows what we need to work on.”
Trae Young had 25 points and 17 assists for the Hawks. The rookie point guard was 8 of 22 from the field but took just five 3-pointers as he drove to the basket time and again for rim attempts or passes out of the paint.
According to the Hawks, Young is the fourth rookie in NBA history to compile those numbers in a game, joining Jason Kidd, Phil Ford and Oscar Robertson (three times).
Taurean Prince had 21 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Dewayne Dedmon had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
“At the end of the day, we have to do our job,” Prince said. “We expect to do it the right way so it doesn’t sit well when a game like this slips away when you know you definitely could have won. All we can do is blame ourselves. So, it’s back to the drawing board and do what we have to do to prepare for the next game.”
The Clippers (11-5) had six double-digit scorers as they won their fifth straight game. Montrezl Harrell had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way. Tobias Harris finished with 24 points and former Hawks Scott and Lou Williams had 18 and 16 points, respectively. Scott finished with six 3-pointers.
The Hawks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter after a 16-3 run, that included eight points from Collins with two corner 3-points. The Clippers answered with a run of their own as closed to within seven points, 96-89, at the end of the period.
The Clippers run continued into the four quarter and grew to 20-4 when Scott made a corner 3-pointer for a 97-96 lead with 9:25 left.
Prince answered with five straight points, on a dunk and 3-pointer, to give the Hawks the lead back. For a while.
The Clippers outscored the Hawks 38-23 in the fourth quarter.
“We are still learning how to finish,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We know we can win games. We know we can compete. We are learning how to finish and that’s an example of us in that process right now. …
“(Clippers coach) Doc (Rivers) came up to me right after the game and said my first year coaching in the league, and I believe he was in Orlando, this is what I went through. Every night, just trying to get your guys, really the first challenge is to get the consistency to compete. Now, the second challenge is how do you win. We aren’t going to blow anybody out. We are not there yet. So, we know we are going to be in a lot of close games down the stretch and that is where leadership, maturity, poise, all those key words come into play to finish the game.”
The Hawks took a 64-61 lead at halftime. Young led the way with 19 first-half points as he was 6 of 12 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line. Young attempted just three 3-pointers through two quarters, instead relying on drives to the basket. Harris had 17 first-half points, including 12 of the Clippers’ first 20 points.
Justin Anderson made his Hawks debut after being out since undergoing surgery on his left leg as a member of the 76ers. He played just 2:30 and missed his only shot.