Clippers 89, Hawks 76

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- After Chris Paul joined the Los Angeles Clippers and Blake Griffin last summer, they were supposed to become a two-man show.
But now the Clippers have the balance of a ballerina.
Los Angeles had six players in double-figures - but none with more than 16 points - as it disposed of visiting Atlanta, 89-76, on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
Griffin had 16 points and six rebounds and Paul added 15 points and eight assists as the Clippers won their third straight to move to 4-2.
Los Angeles forced 22 Atlanta turnovers and picked up 12 steals.
Josh Smith had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and five turnovers for the Hawks (2-3), who lost their second straight after also falling to the defending-champion Miami Heat on Friday. Al Horford and Louis Williams each added 11 points for Atlanta, which shot 41.7 percent from the field and just 7-of-16 from the free-throw line.
The Clippers relied on their bench for a long stretch in the fourth quarter as they grew their lead from five to 20 points before the Hawks made a small run at the end to make the game closer. Los Angeles starters played a total of just six minutes, 45 seconds in the fourth quarter as backups Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins and Eric Bledsoe took over.
Bledsoe had eight of his 12 points in the fourth and Barnes added six of his 10.
After heading into halftime with a 39-37 lead, the Clippers trailed by as much as five in the third quarter before Griffin had back-to-back baskets with less than a minute left to reclaim the momentum. With the backups in to start the final quarter, Los Angeles went up eight with just over nine minutes left, and head coach Vinny Del Negro stayed with the hot hands.
Neither team could take control early in the game as both teams played good on-ball defense.
Paul had nine-first half points and Griffin had eight, while Williams had nine to lead Atlanta, with Smith and Horford each contributing eight points.
NOTES: Clippers starting shooting guard Willie Green, who finished with just two points, played in 53 games for the Hawks last season before being traded for the rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis in July. ... Clippers backup shooting guard Jamal Crawford won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award for Atlanta in 2010. ... The teams tied their season series last year, 1-1, and the Clippers haven't won a season series with the Hawks since 2005.

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