Clippers 101, Hawks 95

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ATLANTA (AP)—Elton Brand wasn’t too impressed with the crowd. He didn’t let the paltry turnout affect him.

Brand scored 22 points, including three straight baskets in a key stretch of the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 101-95 Monday night.

The announced attendance was 8,508, but the crowd appeared to be no more 2,500 on a cold, rainy night in Atlanta.

When Brand played at Duke, he was used to facing larger Atlanta crowds at Georgia Tech’s much-smaller arena.

“There was no crowd,” Brand said. “I thought more than that would come out just to see me.”

Eddie House was equally amazed by the puny showing at Philips Arena.

“It was really strange,” the Clippers guard said. “I haven’t see a crowd that small since—well, not even in college.”

Amazingly, the Hawks squandered another chance for their first winning streak of the season. They have yet to win two in a row, falling to 0-15 coming off a victory.

Atlanta closed to 89-87 before Brand took over. He put back a missed shot, worked inside for a basket, then hit a jumper to give the Clippers an eight-point lead with 4:28 remaining.

Los Angeles pulled away down the stretch, leading by as many as 11 before the Hawks hit a couple of meaningless baskets in the closing seconds.

Afterward, while reporters talked with Jason Terry, Stephen Jackson began spouting off to no one in particular.

“Why don’t you guys just watch the game and answer your own questions?” Jackson said. “We say the same thing every night.”

Brand scored 15 points in the first half, then disappeared until the key stretch of the game. He also had 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals.

“That was All-Star,” Hawks center Nazr Mohammed said. “That guy puts his hard hat on and comes to play every night. He just does his job.”

Marko Jaric added 20 points, while Chris Wilcox came off the bench to contribute 18. The Clippers outrebounded the Hawks 51-42, including several key boards at the offensive end.

“We just hung our heads a little too early,” Atlanta’s Dion Glover said. “We had five minutes to play, down by two. If we locked in, it could have gone the other way. But instead, they jumped on us.”

Jackson and Shareef Abdur-Rahim led the Hawks with 20 points apiece.

The Clippers improved to 2-1 on their nine-game road trip, the longest of the season. They’ll play eight in a row before the All-Star game in Los Angeles.

Atlanta, meanwhile, hasn’t won consecutive games since a four-game streak last April. The Hawks dropped to 4-17 against teams under .500—compared with 11-17 against winning teams.

The Clippers jumped to an 18-8 lead less than seven minutes into the game, with every starter contributing at least one basket.

Atlanta closed the gap to 27-24 by the end of the quarter. Terry hit a 17-foot-jumper with 4 seconds left, then blocked Jaric’s shot at the buzzer.

The game was tight the rest of the way, the margin no more than seven pointsin either team’s favor until the Clippers’ late run.

Notes

The Clippers continue their grueling road trip in Boston, where a Tuesday afternoon practice is scheduled. But coach Mike Dunleavy is concerned about getting out of the hotel—tens of thousands are expected downtown for a parade honoring the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. … Hawks coach Terry Stotts was called for a technical early in the fourth quarter. The timing was rather odd: The Clippers had just been called for a foul when Stotts waswhistled for complaining that it should have been a shooting foul.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 LA Clippers
E. Brand E. Brand
8-19,  22 Pts
12 Rebs, 6 Assists
 Atlanta
D. Glover D. Glover
6-10,  16 Pts
9 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists