We’ll have a full recap later tonight, but let’s quickly touch on a few things from the 103-97 loss to Atlanta.
There’s a natural inclination to call the Clippers’ fourth quarter performance a letdown or a choke job, but for the most part, the Clippers’ fourth quarter play isn’t dramatically different from the first three quarters. The looks the Clippers get in the fourth quarter are some of the better ones they receive all night. To provide some perspective, in the first period the Clippers shoot 4 for 15 from outside the paint. In the fourth period the Clippers shoot 2 for 7 from outside the paint. Point being, there’s a bevy of makeable looks available for the Clippers down the stretch. They just don’t fall.
Defensively, the fourth quarter scoring explosion from Jamal Crawford shouldn’t come as a huge surprise — he’s been doing this sort of thing his whole career. He’s a streaky shooter, but when he gets hot he becomes practically unguardable. Crawford’s 8 fourth quarter points all come at crucial times for the Hawks. With the Clippers’ lead at 9 points with 8:15 to play, Crawford hits back to back midrange jumpers to keep the Hawks in it. Later with the game tied, Crawford hits two freebies from the line to give the Hawks the lead. Crawford’s last bucket of the period comes with :55 seconds to play, and essentially puts the Clippers away for good.