Clippers 89, Hawks 76

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 11, 2012
Blake Griffin scored 16 points, Chris Paul had 15 points and eight assists and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Atlanta Hawks 89-76 on Sunday. Jamal Crawford, who won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award in 2010 while playing for Atlanta, had 11 points after coming in with a team-high 21.8 average - tops among the league's reserves. Fifth-year center DeAndre Jordan, coming off the first back-to-back 20-point games of his NBA career, finished with eight points. Josh Smith had a team-high 13 points for the Hawks, who shot 41.7 percent from the field in the opener of a four-game road trip. Atlanta also committed 22 turnovers that were converted into 24 Clippers points. Coming off consecutive victories over the Lakers and San Antonio, the Clippers took a 65-60 lead into the fourth. Neither team led by more than six until Matt Barnes stole the ball from Ivan Johnson and raced down the floor for a breakaway dunk that gave Los Angeles a 70-62 lead with 10:10 remaining. Lou Williams hit a short jumper at the other end, but the Clippers responded with 15-1 run led by Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and Barnes to build an 85-65 cushion with 3:49 to play. Barnes converted a dunk and a layup on fast breaks after turnovers by Smith, as the Hawks coughed up the ball 10 times in the final quarter while going almost 6 minutes without a field goal. To make matters worse, they missed nine of 16 free-throw attempts in the game. The Clippers, who tied a franchise record by scoring 100 or more points in six straight games to start the season, led 39-37 at halftime. Paul eluded Jeff Teague with a slick crossover dribble at the free-throw line and drove the lane for an uncontested layup that gave them a 35-32 lead with 2:41 left in the second quarter. NOTES: Backup center Ryan Hollins picked up three fouls in a 4 1/2-minute span and returned to the Clippers' bench with 10:06 left in the first half. ... Shaquille O'Neal watched the game from a front-row seat at midcourt with his daughter Amira, but he said he wasn't sticking around for the Lakers-Sacramento game that followed. During Thursday night's TNT coverage of the Clippers' game at Portland, O'Neal said he thought Jordan was the best center in the Western Conference - Dwight Howard notwithstanding. ... The Clippers have two days off before hosting Miami on Wednesday night. Since moving to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 campaign, they are 18-68 against teams that won an NBA title the previous season. ... Longtime Clippers publicist Rob Raichlen is leaving the organization following Wednesday's game to take a job with Mattel and spent more time with his family. ... Saturday marked exactly 42 years since the first meeting between these two franchises, when the Hawks lost 134-118 to the expansion Buffalo Braves. Bob Kauffman had 35 points for the Braves, who held rookie phenom ''Pistol'' Pete Maravich to 16.
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