ATLANTA (TICKER) —Two nights after ending a season-high eight-game losing streak, things got back to normal for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles trailed, 23-18, after one period, despite the efforts of Corey Maggette, who scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
“We failed to play and they were a step slow, too,” Clippers coach Dennis Johnson said. “The first quarter was as ugly as could be.”
“I was hot in the beginning,” said Maggette, who finished with 19 points. “I still think we were capable of winning this game. I think our team’s better than Atlanta. I’m very disappointed.”
Maggette shot 1-of-7 the rest of the way and missed both 3-point attempts after hitting one in the opening period.
Although his only basket in the final three quarters came with 2:37 left in the fourth, Maggette easily was the Clippers’ leading scorer. Rookie Melvin Ely contributed 13 points and Lamar Odom had 12.
“We didn’t come out with a lot of energy,” Odom said. “We got good players, just not a good team.”
Ely got the Clippers within four points on a 17-foot jumper with 5:39 left, but the Hawks scored the next five points to put away the game.
Abdur-Rahim made 3-of-4 free throws during that decisive stretch and scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“Shareef played great tonight and everybody else played well,” said Atlanta’s Glenn Robinson, who had 13 points. “It was a good, solid win.”
Theo Ratliff had 13 points and three blocks to extend his streak to 14 games with at least one rejection. All five Hawks’ starters scored in double figures, including Glover, who had 14 points and passed the 1,500-point mark for his career in the second quarter.
Atlanta has won its last eight home games against the Clippers, whose last road victory over the Hawks came on March 25, 1994. They are winless in four trips to Philips Arena.
“Our defense was not crisp, our offense was not crisp,” Johnson said. “Our game was a step slow all the way around. … We came out from the beginning slow. We need to play with a lot more intensity on defense.”
Los Angeles fell to 1-4 since Johnson replaced the fired Alvin Gentry.