Millsap, Teague lead Hawks over Clippers 107-97
LOS ANGELES (AP) For the Atlanta Hawks, it wasn't how they started, against the Los Angeles Clippers but how they finished.
Jeff Teague scored 22 points, Paul Millsap had 20 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, and the Hawks used a game-ending 25-9 run to beat the Clippers 107-97 Saturday night after trailing by as many as 17 points in the second quarter.
''We knew that we just had to continue to keep doing what we do,'' Teague said. ''We changed the coverage and was a little more aggressive against Chris Paul to make it tougher on him to make passes. We played well as a group, and it was a good team win. The guys played great off the bench, the starters - everybody.''
The Clippers were coming off a miracle 103-98 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday after trailing by 22 and then rallying from a 16-point deficit in the final 7 1/2 minutes with a game-ending 26-5 run.
''To finish it on a run like that, it was a good quality road win for us against a team that's been playing well,'' Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ''After taking a huge punch in the first quarter (37 points against), we came out in the second, third and fourth and found a way to play pretty good defense. It's pretty satisfying. This was good for our group.''
Kent Bazemore added 17 points for the Hawks, who were back at Staples Center one night after routing the Lakers 106-77. They climbed 1 1/2 games behind idle Miami in the in the race for the Southeast Division lead.
Kris Humphries had four points before fouling out with 3:32 left in his second game with the Hawks after signing as a free agent.
Millsap's rebound total was two more than he had in his previous three games combined. And it wasn't easy with the league's No. 2 rebounder, DeAndre Jordan, battling him under the boards.
''Paul competed at a high level, and we expect that from him every night,'' Teague said. ''Thirteen (defensive) boards - that's beasty, man.''
All five starters scored in double figures for the Clippers. Jordan had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Paul 17 points and 11 assists. Jordan has reached double digits in rebounds in 18 straight games, the league's longest streak this season.
Bazemore converted a steal into a fast-break layup and a three-point play, giving Atlanta a 62-60 lead with 7 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. They sealed the victory with a 19-5 run that turned a six-point deficit into a 101-93 lead with 3:18 to play.
''We just let them back in it,'' Paul said. ''I had some bad turnovers, and we just didn't have it tonight. Low energy. It's too late in the season to have letdowns like the one we had. That can't happen. But I think a lot of the credit goes to Atlanta for fighting to get back in the game.''
A short hook shot by backup center Cole Aldrich extended the Clippers' lead to 42-25 with 10:20 left in the second quarter, but the Hawks sliced the margin to 55-50 with a 12-2 run in the final 3 minutes of the half, led by Teague and Al Horford.
''I thought Jeff was great at both ends,'' Budenholzer said. ''He set the tone with his aggressiveness on Chris Paul on the pick-and-rolls.''
The Clippers are 23-8 since losing Blake Griffin because of a partially torn left quad tendon in a game against the Lakers on Christmas. Whenever he is medically cleared to play, he will begin serving a five-game suspension for punching an assistant equipment manager and breaking his shooting hand a month ago while the team was in Toronto.
Hawks: Atlanta has won six games in which it trailed by double digits. The Hawks rallied from 19 down to beat Houston on Dec. 29, and erased a 15-point deficit to beat the Knicks three nights earlier. ... Horford became the ninth player in franchise history with at least 5,000 rebounds. ... The Hawks have won four of their last six with both losses coming against the defending champion Warriors, who are 55-5. ... Atlanta converted 19 Clippers turnovers into 13 points. The Hawks came in third in the league in turnovers forced per game (16.5) and were tied for first in points off turnovers (19.3). ... Budenholzer and Clippers counterpart Doc Rivers both hold the dual role of head coach and president of basketball operations with their respective clubs. Rivers' first eight seasons as an NBA player were spent with the Hawks.
Clippers: The largest lead the Clippers have blown in a loss this season was 25 points, when the Warriors beat them 124-117 at Los Angeles on Nov. 19. ... Starting F Luc Mbah a Moute missed his second straight game because of a laceration on his left eyelid. ... Jeff Green, acquired by the Clippers from Memphis on Feb. 18, had 14 points in 37 minutes in his seventh game with the club. He started for the third time after playing 17 scoreless minutes against Oklahoma City and shooting 0 for 7. ... G Jamal Crawford won the first of his two Sixth Man of the Year Awards with the Hawks in 2009-10 and got the other one with the Clippers two seasons ago.
Hawks: At Utah on Tuesday.
Clippers: At Dallas on Monday.