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News » CLIPPERS 121, HAWKS 97: Without Bibby, it was a truly beastly night


CLIPPERS 121, HAWKS 97: Without Bibby, it was a truly beastly night


CLIPPERS 121, HAWKS 97: Without Bibby, it was a truly beastly night
The Hawks have survived this season under all sorts of circumstances.

They played 12 games without Josh Smith early and then 12 more without Al Horford last month and stayed afloat.

They won back-to-back road games last week without their captain and All-Star Joe Johnson.

But they had no answers Saturday night, playing without Mike Bibby for the first time since the veteran point guard came to the team in a deal at the trade deadline last year.

The Los Angeles Clippers blasted the Hawks 121-97 at Philips Arena, scoring in every way imaginable on their way to disposing of the Hawks by the end of the third quarter.

"Their starting five, and you can't look at the record, is as good as any starting five in the league," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said after his team's worst home loss of this season. "We came out very flat. We couldn't make shots early. They made shots, and once they built the lead we had no answer for them."

Bibby sprained his left foot in Friday's victory in Charlotte, leaving the duties at point guard to Acie Law IV, who started six games as a rookie but hasn't been a fixture in the playing rotation this season.

Law finished with eight points and six assists in 28 minutes. But without Bibby, the Hawks looked disjointed throughout. They couldn't seem to find their rhythm on offense, and not even Johnson's return helped. And their defense was as porous as it has been this season.

"Only time will tell," Woodson said, if Bibby's absence was as significant as it seemed. "I don't know how long Bibby's going to be out. And we missed him tonight, obviously. I don't know that he would have made that big a difference. Because they shot lights out, and our defense was in Charlotte."

The Hawks (29-21) battled back from an early 17-point deficit Friday night, fueled by their second-half defense.

There was no rally Saturday night.

The Clippers had their way with the Hawks inside and out, leading from start to finish and by as many as 29 points. They shot 50 percent or better from the floor in each quarter and 57 percent for the game.

"What defense?" said Hawks forward Marvin Williams, who finished with 17 points to match Johnson's 17. "Those guys scored any way they wanted to score, and we really didn't make an effort to stop them."

A 21-point Clippers victory in Memphis on Friday night should have been all the warning the Hawks needed for Saturday's game. Yet somehow they still started the game in a daze.

Perry native and former Florida State star Al Thornton did the most damage for the Clippers, leading six Clippers in double figures on the night.

Thornton finished with a game-high 31 points on 13-for-22 shooting from the floor, to go with his seven rebounds and six assists. Zach Randolph added 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

"We weren't ready to play," said Hawks forward Smith, who finished with 16 points, a season-high tying 15 rebounds and two blocks. "Both teams had back-to-back games, and I feel like we should have used that to our advantage. We should have pushed the ball more than we did. But they were able to penetrate our interior and find open holes for shots all night."

And they did it all night long.

"It's unacceptable," Woodson said. "We didn't compete. It's the first time I've seen that in this team this year [at home]. We did not compete at all."

NEXT FOR Hawks

* Who: vs. Wizards

* When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

* Radio: 790 AM


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 8, 2009

 

 
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