Hawks seek to equalize trip, prolong Clippers woes

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January 7, 2022; Los Angeles, California, United States; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) reacts during the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks will look to end a .500 road trip Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Clippers, who are looking to end a three-game losing streak.

The Hawks began the road trip – which covered 5,723 miles – with 12 players on the COVID-19 or injured list. Healthy again, they have won two of the five road games.

Atlanta was beaten 134-118 by the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

The Clippers were defeated 123-108 on Saturday for their third straight loss. The Clippers have lost nine of their last 12 games.

This will be the first of two meetings between the clubs. The Clippers won 119-110 in Los Angeles last season, a game that saw Atlanta lose their eighth straight game taking a fourth quarter lead.

The Clippers’ top scorers were Marcus Morris Sr., who scored a season-high 29 on Saturday and averaged 15.8 points, and Reggie Jackson, who scored 18 against the Grizzlies and averaged 16.9 points. .

The Clippers have just recovered center Ivica Zubac from the COVID protocol, and he’s had eight points and seven rebounds – including his 2,000th career rebound – in 19 minutes. He averages 9.6 points and 8.2 rebounds. Zubac missed four games and showed some stamina issues.

“We ask him to come out in the perimeter and then on the disc,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “We tried to adjust and go small, but it hurt us on the glass. Their pace was too strong. They met the ball and attacked.

The Hawks are also expected to pick up the pace. The Hawks have scored at least 117 points in five of their last six games, thanks in large part to the return of Trae Young.

Young nearly managed a triple-double against the Lakers, scoring 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in 36 minutes. He scored at least 25 points in 17 straight games, which set a franchise record. The streak is the longest streak in the NBA this season and equals the longest streak in the past two seasons.

Young is averaging 28.3 points and 9.6 assists, and he’s the only player in the league to be ranked in the top three for points and assists.

In his first three health and safety protocol return games, Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter averaged 19.7 points in 30.1 minutes. He scored 16 off the bench against the Lakers.

Atlanta’s problem has been defense. The Hawks have allowed more than 130 points on seven occasions since Dec. 5 and in their last four losses.

“I think defense is about effort,” Young said. “It’s not necessarily one skill too many. It’s more about effort and desire, and it’s largely a game plan. These two things go hand in hand, and I think we need to do better on both. We have to want it more.

Atlanta could do without center Clint Capela, who suffers from a sprained ankle. Backup Gorgui Dieng is the only player remaining on the protocol list. Los Angeles has Luke Kennard and Xavier Moon on the COVID list.

It will be the Clippers’ seventh consecutive game. They only won the second contest once and were swept away three times.

–Field level media

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