Jimmy John's Order Now

No Star, No problem: Hawks young players spark 102-95 win against Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers were in town at State Farm Arena Wednesday to take on the Atlanta Hawks. Three hours after tip, they were sent packing home with a 102-95 loss to Trae Young-less Hawks team. 

However, John Collins had one of his best games of the season, with a 33 point-16 rebound double-double. Whenever Young is out, Collins always steps up to the plate. Atlanta has an emerging star with Collins and will continue to feed him even if Young is in the lineup. 

The first half was a rough one for the Hawks. Turnovers and missed opportunities derailed the rhythm and fluidity of the offense. It seemed like it would be an easier matchup for the Hawks as the Clippers were without their two star all-star players in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

However, people watching would not have known that the two All-NBA players were out. The Hawks shot an abysmal 33% from the field. They could not make the open shots.

“It was a rough start,” Collins said. “We didn’t like the way we started competitively.”

Montrezl Harrell was a force off the bench for the Clippers, and Atlanta had no answers for the big man. He was a constant force, snatching rebounds off the glass and converting second chance opportunities en route to 30 points.

The Hawks’ glaring need to bolster the frontcourt was apparent throughout the first half. Along with Harrel, Ivica Zubac contributed on the boards for the Clippers, too.

For the Clippers, Lou Williams was also significant in the first half, creating opportunities for teammates. But for the former Hawk, he also created easy buckets for himself, finishing with 18 points. 

Jimmy John's Order Now
Jimmy John's Order Now

The second half became more optimistic for the Hawks, as head coach Lloyd Pierce made the necessary adjustments to succeed. It cannot be understated how much better the Hawks have looked in the second halves of all their games this season. 

The Clippers struggled at the free-throw line and on the boards in the second half.

“I missed seven free throws that came at critical moments in the game for us,” Harell said. These missed opportunities allowed Atlanta to claw its way back into the game and eventually take the lead. 

There was better ball movement to begin the 2nd half, and Atlanta was able to cut the lead to eight and forced Doc Rivers to call a timeout to assemble the team. Rebounding proved to be crucial, allowing Pierce’s team to stay in the game and also get second chance opportunities.

The Atlanta defense adapted much better as they limited a potent Clippers offense to only 35 points in the second half. 

The story of the game is Brandon Goodwin. His ability to facilitate the defense and convert accessible opportunities was crucial for the Hawks in the fourth quarter. In looking at the Clippers, it’s apparent that they have great players who can score off the bench, and Goodwin can do the same for Atlanta. He is genuinely a wildcard, and if he can keep the consistency, the Hawks may have a player pair with Young in the backcourt. 

Goodwin received high praise from an elite scoring guard in Williams: “I hope they do right by him and sign him long-term… he’s proven his worth on this team.” The high recognition from a phenomenal player proves the potential of “B-Goodie.” Goodwin will continue with his aggressiveness, which should bode well for the team. He finished with 19 pts.

Overall, the win bodes well for the Hawks, especially the young players, like Goodwin. This team is not devoid of talent, just a few areas to address to continue that growth and consistency. 

Atlanta will travel to Oklahoma City Friday to take on the Thunder before coming home to face the Washington Wizards on Sunday.