Clippers, Hawks put winning ways to the test

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers will both try to keep their momentum going when they meet on Saturday in Atlanta.

Atlanta has won seven of its last 10 games after a 137-132 shootout victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Clippers pounded San Antonio 138-100 on Thursday and have won four in a row — their longest streak of the season.

Atlanta defeated the Clippers 112-108 in their first meeting on Jan. 8 in Los Angeles. The Hawks have won the last three meetings in Atlanta. The teams split their two-game series a year ago.

This is Atlanta’s final home game before embarking on a five-game road trip to face Western Conference opposition. This is the opener of a six-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents for the Clippers.

Atlanta’s recent success has been led by the backcourt duo of Dejounte Murray and Trae Young.

Murray has scored 20-plus points in seven consecutive games. He lost out on Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors to the Milwaukee Bucks’ Jrue Holiday despite averaging 28.3 points, 6.5 assists, five rebounds and 1.8 steals, and shooting 60 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent on 3-pointers to help the Hawks go 3-1 during that span. He is averaging 20.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and six assists this season.

Young had 33 points and 11 assists in the win over Oklahoma City. In 12 games in January, Young has scored 30-plus four times and 20-plus 11 times. He is averaging 27.1 points and 9.9 assists.

“I don’t look at the previous games I’ve played, I just move on,” Young said.

The Clippers shot 58.4 percent from the floor against San Antonio with Paul George scoring 35 on 14-for-19 shooting and Kawhi Leonard scoring 27 on 10-for-16 shooting.

“It’s PG (George) and Kawhi,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said. “They draw so much attention that they create shots for other people. They’ve done a good job scoring the ball and making the right decision. We’re a totally different team when those guys are able to play. We’re able to get the ball in the paint more and that’s made a difference.”

George is averaging 23.5 points, six rebounds and 5.3 assists. Leonard is averaging 20.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

“My body has been feeling pretty good and I have been working a ton to stay healthy and keep it that way,” said George, who missed five games earlier this month with right hamstring soreness. “Everything is kind of falling into place at this point. We’re healthy and starting to figure out our rotations.”

Los Angeles got Luke Kennard back from a calf injury that kept him out three weeks. He got the start, played 16 minutes and scored five points.

“I thought his timing was a little off,” Lue said. “Started him with Kawhi and PG (George) to see if he could get some looks. We’ll continue to get him acclimated to what we’ve been doing.”

The Hawks have been hurt by the absence of De’Andre Hunter for the last two games with asthmatic symptoms. Meanwhile, the Clippers have played for two weeks without John Wall (abdomen). Marcus Morris Sr. missed Thursday’s game with a rib injury.

–Field Level Media

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