Shorthanded Clippers blow 21-point lead, lose to Hawks
ATLANTA — With Trae Young cheering him on from the bench, two-way player Brandon Goodwin did a pretty good impression of the Atlanta Hawks’ star.
Goodwin scored 19 points — all in the fourth quarter — and the Hawks rallied from a 21-point deficit to stun the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers 102-95 on Wednesday night.
John Collins scored 33 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but it was Goodwin who took control in the final period. He made 6 of 11 shots, including all three attempts beyond the arc, and dished off to De’Andre Hunter in the corner for a 3-pointer that gave the Hawks a 99-93 lead with 1:43 remaining.
“Obviously, when I first got in there, I wasn’t doing much,” Goodwin said. “When that first 3 fell, I was kind of relieved. I started to hit my shots.”
Young, the NBA’s third-leading scorer at 29.2 points a game, didn’t dress because of a right thigh contusion. Recently acquired Jeff Teague started in his place, but the Hawks turned to a guy who has spent a good portion of the season in the G League with the game on the line.
“He controlled the offense and made big plays,” Collins said. “To give us the minutes he did was extremely valuable.”
The Clippers seemingly seized control with a 20-0 run in the first quarter, despite missing starters Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick
Los Angeles went with a lineup that was averaging a cumulative 44.5 points a game. They had no trouble scoring in the first half against the Hawks’ 28thranked defense, building a 60-41 at the break.
But the Clippers were dismal offensively in the second half, hitting just 12 of 37 (32.4%) from the field, including 2 of 15 from 3-point range.
“A rough start,” Collins said. “But they didn’t have a couple of their big guns. We knew we could play with them.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers felt his team squandered a chance to build an even bigger lead in the final minutes of the first half.
Then, in the first five minutes of the third quarter, Los Angeles let the Hawks back in the game.
“Once it became a 10-point game, you’re like, ‘Oh boy, it’s going to be a tough night,” Rivers said.
Montrezl Harrell led Los Angeles with 30 points, but his struggles at the foul line (6 of 13) gave the Hawks a chance to rally.
Rivers didn’t seem too concerned about the loss, which snapped a four-game winning streak.
“A one-off-game,” he called it.
Leonard skipped the back-to-back after a 36-point effort the previous night in a victory at Dallas. Beverly missed the game after going down out with a groin injury against the Mavericks. George missed his seventh straight game recovering from a strained left hamstring.
With many fans still settling into their seats, the Clippers suddenly turned a 12-10 deficit into a 30-12 lead. The Hawks missed 15 straight shots during a nearly six-minute scoring drought, despite giving themselves plenty of second chances by grabbing five offensive rebounds.
The Hawks rallied with a barrage of 3-pointers, hitting 10 of 23 over the final two quarters after going 1 of 12 in the first half.
They were essentially a two-man team in the final period. Goodwin and Collins combined for 27 of the team’s 33 points.
UP HIGH — Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) is defended by Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) in the first half on Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia.