Kawhi Leonard, James Harden combine for 66 in Atlanta win

© Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles’ very own stars shone and led the way to a 149-144 victory over the Hawks.

The Los Angeles Clippers wrapped up their Grammy road trip by capturing their fourth-straight win and raining on the Hawks parade. The Hawks hosted LA at State Farm Arena Monday where the Clippers snapped Atlanta’s four-game hot streak.

It came down to a shootout between the two teams, but the Clippers prevailed, making 24 of 44 shots outside the paint on the second night of back-to-back. Monday first game without overtime in Clippers franchise history where both teams scored over 140 points.

The victory comes after a strenuous seven-game road tour guided by Clippers coach Ty Lue, who was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for the second consecutive month.

“To go 6-1 against the caliber of teams we played on this trip, coming into it, we knew tonight was going to be tough,” Lue said. “Got down early in the second half, continued to keep fighting. It was a total team effort.”

Turning point: The Clippers jumped out hot from behind the arc, where they started 5-for-8 and eventually finished the first quarter with a 37-28 edge on Atlanta. They continued to hit from deep, but the Hawks did not go down without a fight. Atlanta slowed the Clippers down for a 60-58 comeback late in the second quarter before Trae Young hit a floater with 0.8 left in the half for the Hawks, and tied the game 66-66 at the half. 

Atlanta took their second lead of the game in the third quarter behind a few made threes. That was before a buzzer beater three from Daniel Theis stumped their momentum and gave LA the one-point lead into the final quarter.

The Clippers took a 131-126 lead with 2:38 left to play after battling it out. James Harden sank a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down, giving LA the push it needed. Harden and the Clippers put the game away at the free throw line, 149-144.

What it means: The Clippers conclude their road trip at 6-1, including two back-to-backs in that 7 games. It’s the most wins and the best record they have ever had on this trip since they moved into Arena in 1999. The team won by over six points in every win on their tour, despite their starting center sitting out in six of those seven matchups.  

Now, LA is 26-5 in its last 31 games and moves to 34-15 on the season, just .5 game behind the Thunder and Timberwolves who sit first in the Western Conference. 

Hits: When it came down to shooting, the Clippers took the cake against a tough Atlanta roster. Los Angeles made 60% of its 3-pointers while the Hawks shot 51.3%. The 149 points from LA were also the Clippers’ second-most of the season. Despite that much ball action, they managed to only turn the ball over seven times.

Misses: Starting center Ivica Zubac missed his sixth game of the road trip for the Clippers with a lingering calf strain. He returned to the Clippers lineup for the first time in nine games Saturday when LA defeated the Miami Heat. Zubac scored four points with three rebounds in that return.

Stat of the game: Leonard, who was announced as Western Conference Player of the Week earlier Monday morning, added another MVP performance to his resume. He scored 36 points, shot 13-of-20 from the field, 5-of-8 from behind the arc and 5-of-5 from the free throw line.

He wrapped up his Grammy road trip averaging 28 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal. All while shooting 58% from the field, 52% from three and 100% in free throws.  

Up next: After 10 days on the road, the Clippers return to Los Angeles Wednesday to host the New Orleans Pelicans. Wednesday’s game kicks off the team’s three game home stand.