Playing without Trae Young, the Hawks overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Clippers 102-95 Wednesday at State Farm Arena.
Below are some takeaways from the win:
1. With Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverly out for the Clippers and Young out for the Hawks, this wasn’t the star-studded matchup many were hoping for. And without Young, who sustained a right thigh contusion in the loss to Toronto Monday, the Hawks’ offense took its time waking up before surging late for a massive comeback. The Hawks trailed by as much as 21 points in the second quarter before slowly chipping away to pull ahead 93-91, their first lead since early in the first quarter, off a three-point play by Brandon Goodwin with 3:56 to play in the fourth. Goodwin came off the bench and scored all 19 of his points in the fourth, and his driving layup with 15.8 seconds to play sealed the win. With the Clippers playing on the second night of a back-to-back (they beat the Mavericks in Dallas Tuesday), the Hawks were looking to take advantage: “We wanted to pick up full-court, we wanted to keep the ball out of (Lou Williams’) hands, we wanted to blitz him every time he touched it and the overall effect was to try and wear them down, because they played last night,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said.
2. John Collins was all over the place, leading the Hawks in scoring with 33 points and pulling down a season-high tying 16 rebounds, including seven offensive rebounds. In the final minute, with a four-point lead, Collins pulled down a key offensive rebound to maintain possession. This marked Collins’ ninth double-double of the season, and he added three steals and one block. “I feel like we came out in the first half and we saw that they didn’t have their big guns and came off a back-to-back and we took them a little lightly,” Collins said of overcoming the slow start. “Once we settled in and started playing a little bit, got our confidence, it swung the whole game in a different direction.”
3. From the 8:21 mark until the 58.4-second mark in the first quarter, the Hawks failed to make a field goal. They missed 16 field goal attempts in a row and shot 6-for-25 (24%) to the Clippers’ 13-for-22 (59.1%), trailing 32-16 after the first quarter. Things got only slightly better in the second quarter and the Hawks trailed by 19 at halftime, and the effort to start the game was a disappointment to Pierce, even if things turned around in the second half: “There was nothing more disturbing than watching our guys in that first half,” Pierce said. “The message was, we’re just not in a position to come out and not compete, the way we were in the first half, to not have a sense of urgency against a team that played the night before. I hope this is a momentum builder, I hope it’s an understanding of how we have to play from start to finish. But couldn’t be prouder of those guys in that fourth quarter.”
4. Starting the third quarter out on a 12-1 run, the Hawks quickly began to turn things around. Tallying a season-high 63 rebounds in the game (including a season-high 23 offensive rebounds) played a big part in that as they wore the Clippers down and set a season-high in second-chance points (25). Bruno Fernando added nine rebounds, Cam Reddish added eight and Kevin Huerter added seven. After giving up 60 points in the first half, the Hawks slowed the Clippers down to 35 points in the second half.
5. Alex Len returning to action was a bright spot for the Hawks, and he added seven points and seven rebounds. Len had missed four games with lower-back pain -- before that, he was averaging 10.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in January.
By the numbers
64.1% (or 25-for-39, what the Clippers shot from the line as they struggled to make free throws)
“He got going. He gave us a punch. He made a couple shots but he really settled us. ... You could feel the momentum going and he was the main reason behind it.” (Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce on Brandon Goodwin’s performance in the fourth quarter)
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