Hawks send trading Clips to sixth straight loss
LOS ANGELES -- Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks didn't allow themselves to fall into that trap of underestimating a losing team in disarray after making two trades in less than 24 hours.
Horford scored a career-high 31 points in his 200th NBA game, and the Hawks sent the wheeling-and-dealing Los Angeles Clippers reeling to their sixth straight loss with a 110-92 victory Wednesday night.
"In the fourth quarter I looked up at the scoreboard and I was pretty excited about it," Horford said. "Obviously, I'm more concerned about winning. But when you're able to do something like that individually, it always feels good."
Josh Smith had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Joe Johnson added 18 points for Atlanta. The Hawks have won four of five, including a 103-97 decision against the Clippers in Atlanta.
"Granted, they're a little short-handed, based on the trade today, but we couldn't concern ourselves with that. We just had to handle our business," coach Mike Woodson said.
Chris Kaman had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who are winless in five games since general manager-coach Mike Dunleavy handed the coaching duties to assistant Kim Hughes. Rasual Butler and Eric Gordon each had 18 points.
Point guard Steve Blake made his Clippers debut, following the trade Tuesday that sent the Marcus Camby to Portland in exchange for Blake and Travis Outlaw.
Blake had nine assists and three points in 33 minutes and was 1 for 6 from the field while starting for Baron Davis, who missed his first game of the season because of a sore lower back that plagued him during Tuesday night's 109-87 loss at Portland.
"I've been here less than 24 hours, so I don't know how much in disarray it really is or why the Clippers haven't won as many games as we did in Portland," Blake said. "I just know I'm going to do what the coach asks me to do and enjoy it while I'm here -- and I expect only good things to happen."
In another deal that was completed less than an hour before tipoff, Los Angeles acquired Drew Gooden from Cleveland in a three-team trade that sent Al Thornton to Washington and Sebastian Telfair to the Cavaliers. The Wizards had acquired Gooden on Saturday in a trade with Dallas.
"This is it -- but, hey, we're open for business till 12 p.m. (PST) tomorrow. You never know what could happen," Dunleavy said.
With all this turnover, Hughes hasn't had a chance to gauge the general morale in the dressing room with the Clippers heading toward another draft lottery.
"I have not had time to do damage control, and that's unfortunate," Hughes said. "But being at home this upcoming week, we'll have some good practices, and that'll really help. As an interim coach, you can't beat them down because you can't afford for them to quit."
Horford, who made 12 of 15 shots, paced Atlanta to a 56-44 halftime lead with 17 points. He scored seven of them during a 17-6 run, capping it with an assist on a fast-break layup by Josh Smith that extended the Hawks' lead to 54-38 with 2:48 left in the second quarter.
The Clippers got as close as 81-75 on a 3-pointer by Butler with 3 seconds left in the third quarter, but the Hawks opened the fourth with a 14-2 run to open up a 95-78 lead. Smith capped the rally with an alley-oop dunk off a feed from Jamal Crawford with 8:08 remaining.
Crawford, playing with a sore left shoulder, scored 12 points and is 28 away from 10,000. He has played 648 games in the NBA, the most by any active player who hasn't gotten to the playoffs. But that should change this season, with the Hawks holding the third-best record in the Eastern Conference (34-18).
Atlanta assistant coach Jim Todd lost his first 11 games as interim head coach of the Clippers after replacing Chris Ford in February 2000. Todd finished out that season with a 4-33 record before Los Angeles hired Alvin Gentry. ... The trade came more as a disappointment than a shock to Thornton. "A lot of my friends were texting me and said they saw it on TV," Thornton said. "I really wanted to stay here. I kind of got comfortable here. But at the end of the day, I know it's a business and you've got to make moves."
Regular Season Series
ATL Wins 2-0
- Leon Wood
- Dan Crawford
- Marat Kogut
2022-23 Southeast Standings
2022-23 Pacific Standings