NBA: Clippers rally in 2nd half to defeat Hawks

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks (second from left) drives to the basket during the NBA match against the LA Clippers at Staples Centre, on March 22, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Led by their second unit, the Los Angeles Clippers battled back from a 22-point deficit in the second half to earn a 119-110 victory over the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Monday (March 22).

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue pulled his starters midway through the third quarter, and the second unit cut the Hawks' lead to eight points at the end of the third quarter with a half-court heave by Luke Kennard.

Kennard finished 8 for 8 for the field, totaling 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes.

The second unit managed to cut Atlanta's advantage to four points early in the fourth quarter and Lue put starters Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back in the game.

The Clippers then managed to tie the game at 105-all with just under four minutes left and took the lead for good at 110-108 with a Terance Mann 3-pointer from the corner with 2:42 left.

Mann finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Leonard led the Clippers with 25 points and Marcus Morris Sr. added 19 points on 5 for 8 shooting from beyond the arc.

"That was all heart and just guys staying ready," Kennard said. "Guys have been staying ready this entire year. It's been a difficult year with everything going on, no fans or anything. It's tough, but I'm proud of those guys and the way they competed."

The Clippers have won four of its last six games and play their next two games at San Antonio on Wednesday and Thursday, then return home for nine straight games.

They held a moment of silence before tip-off for Elgin Baylor, who died of natural causes at the age 86 on Monday. Baylor served as general manager of the Clippers for 22 seasons and was named NBA Executive of the Year for the 2015-16 season.

The loss snapped Atlanta's eight-game winning streak, a run that coincided with Nate McMillan taking over as coach.

The Clippers led by as many as 10 points early in the first half, but the Hawks turned up their defense. Led by point guard Trae Young, Atlanta grabbed a 63-48 lead at halftime.

Young paced the Hawks with 28 points, including 20 in the first. Young also contributed eight assists and five rebounds, but finished with four turnovers.

John Collins contributed 23 points and seven rebounds, while Clint Capela added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. The Clippers' bench outscored Atlanta's bench 52-32.

The Hawks are 1-1 on their eight-game road trip out West and next travel to Sacramento on Wednesday.

The day's action saw the Houston Rockets turn back the Toronto Raptors and end a 20-game skid as Christian Wood scored 19 points, all in the second half, while John Wall produced a triple-double as the Rockets won 117-99.

Wood scored 12 points in the third period, and his floater at the 3:08 mark lifted Houston to an 86-73 lead. However, Toronto closed the third with a 13-2 run that included two Fred VanVleet 3-pointers and a Chris Boucher three-point play. The Raptors pulled within 88-87 on a free throw early in the fourth, but Houston didn't fold.

Wall finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists while Houston's Jae'Sean Tate contributed 22 points, six boards and five assists. Sterling Brown added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who were without Victor Oladipo, Kevin Porter Jr., Eric Gordon and David Nwaba.

VanVleet led the Raptors with 27 points. Pascal Siakam added 21 points and 10 rebounds, Norman Powell scored 19 points and Kyle Lowry 17. Toronto dropped its ninth consecutive game.

Over in Chicago, Rudy Gobert had 21 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high nine blocked shots as Utah pulled away to defeat the hosts 120-95.

Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 30 points for Utah, who wrapped up a five-game road trip with a 3-2 record. Joe Ingles (17 points), Jordan Clarkson (16) and Mike Conley (15) also scored in double digits for the league-leading Jazz.

Zach LaVine finished with 27 points to lead the Bulls. Thaddeus Young contributed 14 points and nine rebounds.

Hosts Memphis notched a 132-126 win over the Boston Celtics as Ja Morant scored 29 points and dished out nine assists to help Memphis edge their rivals in overtime.

Morant hit 3 of 4 free throws in the closing seconds of the extra period to help Memphis secure its third win in four games. Jonas Valanciunas contributed 16 points and a game-high 19 rebounds for the Grizzlies.

Playing without Jayson Tatum, who sat out due to an illness, and Kemba Walker, sidelined due to left knee injury management, the Celtics fell to 2-5 since the All-Star break. Jaylen Brown scored 27 points.

In Milwaukee, Jrue Holiday recorded season highs of 28 points and 14 assists as the Bucks extended their season-best winning streak to seven games with a convincing 140-113 triumph over Indiana.

The Bucks played without two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) but did not miss their star as they racked up 83 first-half points. Khris Middleton registered 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Pat Connaughton contributed 20 points and nine rebounds to help Milwaukee win for the 12th time in the past 13 games.

Domantas Sabonis had 22 points and nine rebounds for Indiana, which fell for the ninth time in the past 13 games. Jeremy Lamb scored 21 points, Doug McDermott added 20 and Caris LeVert had 19.

Oklahoma City Thunder also notched a 112-103 win over Minnesota Timberwolves, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 31 points.

Svi Mykhailiuk, playing in his third game with the Thunder after being acquired in a trade earlier in the month, heated up during a 15-2 run early in the fourth quarter. The surge helped Oklahoma City stretch its lead to a game-high 18 points and take control for good.

Oklahoma City's Ty Jerome shot 5-for-5 from 3-point range and wound up with 15 points, and Aleksej Pokusevski added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 33 points and 10 boards while Anthony Edwards scored 16 points.

The Charlotte Hornets defeated San Antonio Spurs 100-97 as Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and Terry Rozier added 24, 17 of those in the second half.

Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo added 11 points each for the Hornets, who ended a three-game losing streak, and P.J. Washington finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan ended up with 28 points for San Antonio. White scored 21, and Mills and Rudy Gay hit for 10 apiece. Jakob Poeltl paced the Spurs with 11 rebounds.

De'Aaron Fox scored 30 points, Tyrese Haliburton added a career-high 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting and Sacramento ended its six-game Eastern Conference road swing with a 119-105 victory over Cleveland.

JaVale McGee led the way for the Cavaliers with 18 points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.

The Kings used a dominant third quarter, including a 14-1 run over six-plus minutes, to gain separation in the second half. They held the Cavaliers to just 17 points in the period.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.