Reggie Jackson had his first 20-point game as a Clipper, Ivica Zubac had his second double-double of the week, and Terance Mann and Luke Kennard both set career highs with four steals. But the role players collectively weren’t enough to match a Hawks team led by All-Star Trae Young. Young had 36 as Atlanta came back in the second half to beat LA, 108-99.
The Clippers were obviously down a significant amount of offensive firepower to start the game, but they still stuck to the principles Ty Lue wanted to see from his team. Namely, they kept attacking the paint. That led to a number of drive-and-kicks, and the Clippers stuck to the formula even as they only made 1-of-9 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Serge Ibaka also did a good job of bailing out possessions in the first quarter. He seemed to enjoy being a primary option on offense, hitting 4-of-6 shots in the period for eight points. Terance Mann also brought some needed energy with five rebounds and a nifty euro-step.
The second quarter was more of a team effort. Reggie Jackson directed the offense, including throwing some entry passes to Ivica Zubac for rare post-ups. Four players had at least five points in the period, including Marcus Morris Sr. with six off the bench.
But the most impressive takeaway of the first half was LA’s defensive effort. The Clippers forced 10 turnovers, leading to 12 points, three of the takeaways coming from Luke Kennard steals. They limited the Hawks to 35.9 percent shooting and only seven 3-point attempts. The Clippers also outrebounded Atlanta during the first half, which helped result in a five-point lead.
That energy level continued in the third quarter, but the Hawks finally started to figure things out on offense. Trae Young got going from 3-point range, and that opened things up for Clint Capela inside and De’Andre Hunter on the wing. Atlanta scored 33 points in the period to turn a five-point deficit into a six-point lead, and it certainly didn’t help that there appeared to be a lid on the LA basket.
Yeah, so this Clippers-Hawks game is something else. pic.twitter.com/TqhO7hbNkZ— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) January 27, 2021
On nights like this last season, when both Leonard and George were missing, Lou Williams would take over. But it was another poor shooting night for the sixth man, who missed his first eight shots and finished 4-of-14 from the floor. He is shooting 38.3 percent at the quarter pole of this season.
Without Williams lighting it up, the Clippers didn’t have enough firepower. Zubac and Jackson both had season-highs in scoring, but their combined 33 points was barely more than one Kawhi Leonard.
Overall, head coach Ty Lue has to be happy with the effort tonight. Hopefully, the reinforcements join the team later on the road trip.