Game #19 | December 4, 2013
Philips Arena | Atlanta, GA

  • 107

  • 97


24 13 11
















ATLANTA – Prior to the start of the Clippers’ seven-straight games away from home, Head Coach Doc Rivers stood in the hallway inside Philips Arena and said he never comes up with a number of wins that would constitute a positive trip.

“7-0,” he said. “When you lose one, let’s go 6-1.”

One game in and the Clippers are already forced to adjust their thinking.

Outside of a few minutes in the first quarter, they never led Wednesday night at Philips Arena, and lost, 107-97, to the Hawks.

Despite 24 points and seven rebounds from Blake Griffin, 19 points, 11 assists and three steals from Chris Paul and 26 points off the bench from Jamal Crawford and Darren Collison, the Clippers (12-7) were never really able to gain traction in the road trip’s opener.

“We’ve got to step it up, man,” Paul said. “This is a long road trip. All we talk about is getting off to a good start and this is not a good start.”

Nor was it a good start for them in Wednesday’s loss, their second in a row. The Clippers trailed Atlanta (10-10) by as many as 17 and were out-gunned from 3-point range by 24 points. Twenty-seven of Atlanta’s 42 field goals were on dunks, layups or threes.

“We were horrible on defense,” Rivers said. “Tonight, we weren’t good individually and we weren’t good [in team defense]. But that’s okay. We had a clunker tonight but we’ve been improving.”

Still, after trailing by double digits for most of the third quarter, the Clippers finally found a way back in it early in the fourth quarter. Paul made a jumper from the right elbow that cut the Clippers’ deficit to five, and 23 seconds of solid defense nearly forced Atlanta’s second shot-clock violation of the period. But Lou Williams flung up a desperation 3-pointer with Paul swarming him three steps behind the line. The shot extended it to 82-74 and the Clippers never again climbed closer than seven.

“It was one of those nights,” said Crawford, who finished 5-for-12 with 13 points in his third game in Atlanta since he played for the franchise. “It felt like we couldn’t get any stops, honestly. It seemed like whenever we’d make a run we could never get it closer than six. Then six became we could never get it closer than nine.”

That was seemingly a combination of the Hawks’ proficiency; they went 12-for-23 from 3-point range and had three players top 20 points, and the Clippers making errors at crucial moments. They pushed the ball ahead after a long rebound by Paul and in an attempt to answer Williams’ long 3-pointer two possessions later, but Crawford’s 3-pointer was waved off after an illegal screen by Ryan Hollins. There times when they would stop the Hawks on the initial possession and a rebound would get tipped out to Kyle Korver, who scored a season-high 23 points, for an open jumper from long range. And then after missing on one end, they’d get beat down the floor, or give up an open driving lane, or commit a loose-ball foul.

“It’s very frustrating. It’s obviously frustrating just to lose a game, frustrating in the manner in which we lost,” Griffin said. “I feel like every time we lose we put ourselves in a huge hole. I feel like a majority of [our losses] have come that way.”

The Clippers were down just 13-11 when Atlanta put together a 14-2 first-quarter run that essentially turned out to be the difference. The Clippers did not lead after going up 8-7 on a jumper by Willie Green, who started his second game in place of J.J. Redick (hand/wrist), and were down by a dozen before the end of the first.

As a whole, the first half was a microcosm of the Clippers’ defensive problems. They failed to get stops, nabbing only one steal, and couldn’t get out on the break. They had just two points in transition.

“It’s tough to get in a rhythm as a group and it’s tough to get easy baskets when you’re always taking the ball out of the net,” Crawford said. “You can’t get transition points, if you can’t keep them on their heels because they’re scoring every time.”


The Clippers have lost five games in a row in Atlanta… Korver’s first quarter 3-pointer extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal made to an NBA-record-tying 89 games. He went 6-of-9 from 3-point range in the game… L.A. was 4-for-19 from 3-point range (21.9 percent). In their two games without Redick, the Clippers are 8-for-34 (23.5 percent)… Griffin’s league-high active streak of 12 double-doubles in a row came to an end. It was the second longest such streak of Griffin’s career… DeAndre Jordan had a game-high 13 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass…. Although the Clippers lost for the second time in a row, they have yet to lose three in a row this season. Since Paul arrived in 2011-12, they have never lost more than four straight and have endured just five streaks of three losses or more…


Doc Rivers

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on making in-game adjustments:

“Maybe I’ve got to make an adjustment in games like this because I thought they got everything they wanted all night. I just think we didn’t play with a lot of force defensively.”



Clippers guard Chris Paul on finding a defensive identity:

“We’ve got to find our defensive identity. That starts with us in the locker room. We know what to do. We’ve just got to stop talking about it and just do it and figure out how to stop teams.”


Clippers forward Blake Griffin on team’s offense:

“I thought we got shots, we just didn’t hit shots. We have guys that are plenty capable of hitting shots. Obviously, it hurts not having J.J. [Redick] but Willie [Green] can shoot the lights out.”


Hawks guard-forward Kyle Korver on beating the Clippers:

“That’s one of the best games we’ve played so far this year. A lot of people played well; inside-out, people were shooting the ball, we played with pace. When we do that, we can be a really good team. I’m just hoping we can build on those habits.”


Hawks forward Paul Millsap on his team’s defensive strategy against the Clippers’ big men:

“The (scouting report) was (defending) the lobs and limit the plays at the basket and limit the transition plays. We were able to do that. If you do that, you stop a lot of those plays.”








By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten

ATLANTA – “You can’t win them all without winning the first one.”

Chris Paul said it last season before the Clippers set off on their annual Grammy road trip and the mantra stuck.

Blake Griffin brought it up again Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the Clippers (12-6) would leave for game one of their seven-game, 13-day road trip. It starts at Philips Arena Wednesday against the new-look Hawks (9-10).

Both Atlanta and the Clippers are coming off losses in inter-conference matchups. The Hawks lost 102-100 in San Antonio Monday on a jumper by Tim Duncan in the final seconds. It was Atlanta’s fifth loss in their last six games and sent them home 0-2 on their truncated road trip to Washington and the Alamo City.

L.A. entered Sunday’s 105-100 loss to the Pacers on a four-game winning streak. But did not earn the road sendoff they hoped for and now their trip begins in Atlanta, a place they have lost four times in a row.



Blake Griffin vs. Paul Millsap

Of the numerous offseason moves Atlanta made, including drafting shifty German point guard Dennis Schroder and signing Macedonian forward Pero Antic, the signing of Paul Millsap as a replacement for the departed Josh Smith was widely viewed as the biggest coup. Millsap is tough, and while undersized for the power forward position, seemingly has a hand in every facet of the game.

“Millsap can play outside, play inside,” Ryan Hollins said. “He’s got a good nose for the ball. He finds a lot of loose balls. He’s a good player. He’s a headache for our defense.”

In his 10 career games against the Clippers as a member of the Utah Jazz, Millsap averaged a modest 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. However, he had three games with 18 or more points since 2011-12 and has shot better than 55 percent six times.

That’s not to say, Griffin, who is riding a streak of 11 consecutive double-doubles hasn’t gotten the better of Millsap. In those same 10 games, Griffin has put up 22.3 points on an astounding 61.5 percent shooting and added 11.4 boards and 3.2 assists. With first-quarter star J.J. Redick out for 6-8 weeks with a fractured hand and torn ligament in his right wrist, Griffin could look to carry the offensive load more early.


1. Eastern Time. When the Clippers traveled east in early November, Head Coach Doc Rivers said he made the mistake of having the team shoot-around in the morning before taking on the Orlando Magic. Rivers is a stern believer in the necessity of rest and he felt like his players’ internal body clocks were still in Los Angeles. To avoid making the same mistake, the Clippers traveled to Atlanta on Monday, two days before they played the Hawks. They practiced Tuesday afternoon and by the time they tipoff Wednesday night, they will have nearly had three full days without a game. For their sake, they hopefully get used to it. Six of their seven games on the trip take place in the Eastern Time Zone.

2. Run, run, run. The Clippers are clearly at their best when they are forcing turnovers and running. But with Jeff Teague playing at a near All-Star level for Atlanta and their defense allowing just 10.7 fast-break points per game, it may be hard to come by. Still, the Clippers, who are ninth in the NBA in points on the break, probably should force the issue. They are undefeated (5-0) when scoring 20 or more fast-break points. It’s also worth noting the Clippers are much improved in transition defense in their own right. They give up 10.5 points on the break, owning a plus-5.2 advantage in transition (second in the NBA to New Orleans).


They come into Atlanta with just 11 active players. Maalik Wayns (meniscus), Matt Barnes (eye) and J.J. Redick remain out… Jamal Crawford and Willie Green both played for the Hawks… The Clippers are 3-7 in their last 10 games against the Hawks… Former Clippers All-Star Elton Brand is a backup forward on the Hawks. In nine games versus the Clippers since he left the organization before the 2008-09 season, Brand has averaged 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds… The Clippers are 25-3 since 2011-12 when Paul scores 20 or more points with 10 or more assists…

COMING: Pero Antic (Olympiacos - Greece); Gustavo Ayon (Bucks); Elton Brand (Mavericks); DeMarre Carroll (Jazz); Shelvin Mack (Maine Red Claws); Cartier Martin (Wizards); Paul Millsap (Jazz); Dennis Schroder (Phantoms Braunschweig)

GOING: Devin Harris (Mavericks); Ivan Johnson (Zhejiang Golden Bulls - China); Dahntay Jones (Free Agent); Zaza Pachulia (Bucks); Johan Petro (); Josh Smith (Pistons); DeShawn Stevenson (Free Agent); Anthony Tolliver (Bobcats)



Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Crawford 20
Ast: Paul 10
Reb: Griffin/Jordan 12

Last Time Out




Hawks Leaders:
Pts: Teague 19
Ast: Teague 7
Reb: Milsap 14