The Clippers (13-5) were without 3 of their starters on the road tonight and paid the price, getting their 7 game win streak snapped by the Atlanta Hawks (9-8) by a score of 108-99. The team’s best players Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were out due to Covid contact tracing, and Patrick Beverley sat once again due to his shoddy knees. They put up a good fight with some good performances from Reggie Jackson and Ivica Zubac, but the All-Star play of Trae Young proved too much to overcome. It was neck and neck throughout, and they actually led by 5 at halftime, but the Hawks eventually found their stroke and took advantage of the shorthanded Clippers lack of star-power and some favorable calls from the officials. It was close late, but a couple of 3’s, including one from Trae Young from near half-court, saw LA leaving with the L.
STAR OF THE GAME
Trae Young and his game high 38 points. He also added 3 rebounds 5 assists and a steal. This kid just continues to get better and better and has emerged as the undoubted leader of the Hawks. He did not shoot all that well during the first half, but by the end of the game he was over 50% from the field hitting 12 out of 23 shots. Including 3 out of 7 from 3. He also got to the free throw line 11 times, and hit all 11 of them. He has a bit of James Harden-like craftiness to his game that he utilizes well to fool the referees into getting him there. He takes full advantage of those opportunities as he is one of the league leaders in free throw attempts and makes. If the Hawks are going to make the playoffs this year it will be due to this dude.
There are a couple things really concerning me right now after this game, and I could go with the obvious one being the status of numbers 2 and 13, but the one that has been bothering me for longer is the poor play of Lou Williams. He struggled once again from the field going 4 for 14, and other than the preseason (where he only missed one shot, but those numbers don’t count) and a few good games here and there, for the most part this year he has not looked like the Sweet Lou we as Clipper fans are used to seeing. I do not know if it is Father Time catching up to him, if he is letting the trade talks surrounding his name get to him, or what but he has got to get his head together and just start playing better. The Clippers are going to need the 3 time 6th Man of the Year if they are going to get where they want to go. Especially right now, if they are going to be without their stars for any prolonged period of time.
Kevin Huerter. His stat line doesn’t jump off the score sheet, but the Hawks needed all 13 of his points tonight. During the second half he started making shots. He only shot a total of 3 shots from behind the arc but he made them all, and each of them came right when Atlanta needed one. As the Clippers were fighting valiantly to at least tie the game, Huerter would dash their hopes by sinking a 3. Including a dagger one late. Kevin Huerter is not a name you hear a lot, but it is one that will be in the highlights tonight for sure.
At Miami Heat, Thursday, January 28th at 5:00PM Pacific
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