Leonard scores 32, Clippers beat Hawks for 5th straight win
ATLANTA (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points, including a season-high five 3-pointers, Paul George added 23 points and the Los Angeles Clippers won their fifth straight game, a 120-113 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.
Trae Young had 12 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter for the Hawks, who whittled a 14-point deficit down to four on De’Andre Hunter’s left corner 3 with 2:09 remaining. But they couldn’t get any closer after George buried a baseline jumper and Nicolas Batum hit a right corner 3 with 49.3 seconds to go.
George knocked down two free throws at the 17.6-second mark to put the game out of reach.
The Hawks dropped to 8-6 in January, including 6-3 in their last nine outings.
The Clippers used an 8-1 run early in the fourth to build an 11-point lead on Reggie Jackson’s layup. Atlanta called timeout, but it made no difference as Los Angeles went up by 12 on Norman Powell’s left corner 3 with 9:13 remaining. A pair of free throws by Ivica Zubac and Zubac’s putback dunk made it a game-high 14-point lead at the 5:22 mark.
The Hawks pulled within one midway through the third, but the lead swelled to 71-66 on a pair of 3s by Luke Kennard. Leonard followed with two 3s that made it 76-68, and Los Angeles entered the fourth leading 84-81.
Atlanta took the game’s first double-digit lead at 41-30 on Dejounte Murray’s 10-footer, but the Clippers went on a 26-8 run to go up 56-49 on Zubac’s dunk late in the second. They didn’t trail again for the rest of the game and led 58-53 at halftime.
Clippers: F Marcus Morris Sr. was held out with a rib contusion. ... F Robert Covington was not available due to personal reasons. ... Los Angeles has scored over 100 points in 12 straight games. ... The Clippers improved to 20-6 when leading after three. ... They shot 48.7% on 39 attempts on 3s.
Hawks: Outscored Los Angeles 62-32 on points in the paint. ... Young went without a 3 for the third time in the last four games, and Atlanta dropped to 1-5 when he fails to connect beyond the arc. He was 0 for 2. ... All five of the starters scored in double figures. ... Young had 10 assists. ... Clint Capela had 12 rebounds.
Clippers: At Cleveland on Sunday.
Hawks: At Portland on Monday.
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George Henry, The Associated Press