At this point, it is hard to tell if the hawks are aiming for the playoffs or the NBA lottery. Despite leading early and battling for most of the game, the hawks fell short down the stretch again Saturday night, losing 109-108 to the Los Angeles Clippers for their sixth straight loss and 14th in 15 games.
It was the Clippers' seventh straight win, even if it was much closer than their 48-point blowout win over the Lakers Friday night. The Hawks were up by nine early, but fell behind by 11 in the fourth quarter, before trying to make up the deficit and just falling short.
Blake Griffin had 27 points and eight rebounds, as the Clippers shot 53% from the floor - moving to 22-1 when they shoot over 50%. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 12 rebounds, making 6 of 8 from the floor. Chris Paul also had a double-double, with 19 points and 10 assists.
The Hawks' frontcourt, now a bit healthier than in past weeks, did its job. DeMarre Carroll led the Hawks with 19 points. Paul Millsap (back from a knee injury) had 14 points and 5 steals, and Pero Antic (back from a foot injury) turned in a 16 pt/6 rebound effort. Kyle Korver added 17 points and six assists, going 3-for-3 from deep.
Unfortunately, Jeff Teague, despite nine assists, made just 3 of 9 shots from the floor and missed a free throw with 1/2 seconds left that would have sent the game into overtime. The Hawks' bench did not help much either as Cartier Martin and Shelvin Mack shot a combined 2 for 12 from the floor.
The Hawks have now lost 10 straight games on the road and sport a deplorable road record of 9-24. Despite the freefall, they are still 3 games ahead in the "race" for the eighth Eastern Conference playoff berth of Detroit and 3.5 games ahead of the Knicks and Cavs. It is worth noting that, of the bottom eight teams in the East (Atlanta and the seven teams allegedly chasing them) that none have won more than three of their past ten games.