The Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers got together for a tussle, minus Kawhi Leonard, Trae Young, Paul George, and Pat Beverly. After the Clippers jumped out to a big lead in the first half, the Hawks defense(yes, the defense)and Brandon Goodwin stepped up to erase a 21 point lead.
Coming into last night’s game with the Clippers, the Atlanta Hawks knew they were going to need a special effort from the team when it was announced Trae Young would be sitting out the game with a right thigh contusion. The good news, for the Hawks, was that the Clippers had their own contingency of missing players. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Pat Beverly were all missing in action last night. Even with their biggest stars missing, LA had to feel good about their chances against the worst team in the NBA.
The absence of Trae Young was felt immediately for the Hawks. The Clippers were running all over the Hawks, shutting down their offense and playing good defense. The Hawks had such a hard time finding any offense, the Clips held the Hawks without a field goal from 8:21 mark to the 54 second mark. After the first quarter, the Hawks were down 32-16.
The first half remained all about LA. Montrezl Harrell was dominant in the first half, leading the team from the bench. However, missed free throws from Harrell would come back to haunt him and the Clippers later in the second half. It looked like this game was going to get out of hand before halftime, with the Hawks finding little to no offense and the defense getting gouged by the Clips. Going into halftime, the Clippers led 60-41.
It was the second half when the Hawks came to life. John Collins took over the game, with some help from Kevin Huerter, to drag the Hawks back into the game. With Alex Len on a minutes restriction, Collins played as the center for some of the night. With no Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, the Hawks began to slowly chip away at the Clippers lead. After holding the Clips to a 15 point third quarter, the Hawks were right back in the game going into the fourth.
John Collins finished the night as the big star, but the fourth quarter belonged to Brandon Goodwin. With Trae missing, Goodwin returned from College Park to backup Jeff Teague in the game. Goodwin caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring all of his 19 points in that quarter and 19 of the Hawks 33 points. Throw in Collins, and those two scored 27 of the Hawks 33 points in the fourth quarter. The Hawks continued to play great defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Clippers to 20 points. The Hawks would go on to win the game 102-95.
The Hawks were able to erase a 21-point deficit with stellar defense and some other-worldly performances from Collins and Goodwin. John Collins finished the night with 33 points and 16 rebounds. Brandon Goodwin finished the night with 19 crucial points from the bench. It wasn’t just the scoring that saved the Hawks. It was the defense! After giving up 60 points in the first half, the Hawks held LA to 35 second-half points. It was an incredible performance from this Hawks team.
The Atlanta Hawks can enjoy last night’s win today before hitting the road to go to Oklahoma City. The Hawks will play the Thunder on Friday night at 8:00 P.M. where the Hawks will try to make it two in a row.