The Atlanta Hawks will try to prevent a repeat of two months ago when the Los Angeles Clippers come to town on Wednesday.
The Clippers hammered the Hawks 150-101 on Nov. 16 in Los Angeles. Atlanta was playing without John Collins, who was in the midst of a suspension for the violating the league’s drug-abuse policy, but that mattered little.
The Hawks surrendered a season high in points that night — a mark eclipsed 14 days later when they gave up 158 to Houston — and suffered their widest margin of defeat. It was also the largest margin of victory by either team in the all-time series.
Beyond that, Los Angeles has won the past four meetings between the clubs in Atlanta.
Atlanta has played better at times but remains unpredictable. For example, after getting drubbed by the Detroit Pistons by 33 points on Saturday, the Hawks pressed the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors to the final minute before losing 122-117 two days later.
The Clippers have been playing at a high level and hold the second-best record in the Western Conference. The Clippers, who have won four straight, could be a bit weary since they will be on the second leg of a back-to-back set, and they were pushed to the limit before putting away the Dallas Mavericks 110-107 on Tuesday night. They have swept two of eight back-to-backs this season.
Kawhi Leonard, who scored 36 on Tuesday, has scored at least 30 points in each of the past six games. It is the longest 30-plus streak by a Clippers player since World B. Free had an 11-game stretch in 1980. Free and Bob McAdoo are the only players in franchise history to score 30-plus in five or more consecutive games.
“Making shots. Simple as that,” Leonard told reporters after the game.
The Wednesday game will also mark a homecoming for Atlanta product Lou Williams. He continues to be a 3-point shooting machine, and he recently moved into sole possession of fifth place on the team’s all-time 3-point list. He sank three treys on Tuesday.
“I feel like I can make 100 in a row once I make one,” Williams said. “I feel like I can make them any time after that.”
Leonard said of Williams, “Very talented scorer — fearless, just goes out there and plays the game.”
The Clippers may again be without Paul George, who has missed six consecutive games due to a left hamstring issue. George scored 37 against the Hawks in the first meeting.
The Hawks have received the desired results with the acquisition of backup point guard Jeff Teague. He has totaled 17 points and eight assists in the two games since he was obtained from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“To be able to use his voice in the locker room is important,” Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said. “They will look to him just because of who he is and what he’s done in this league and his familiarity with Atlanta, so I’m going to look to him as well.”
But there’s no question that the Hawks live and die with starting point guard Trae Young. The 21-year-old averages 29.2 points and already has seven 40-point games this season. In the Monday loss to the Raptors, Young had 42 points and 15 assists, his fourth career 40-10 game.
–Field Level Media