Published November 20, 2014
Joe Johnson scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Josh Smith added 22 and the Atlanta Hawks rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-98 on Sunday.
Johnson, who returned to the lineup on Dec. 17 after missing nine games following right elbow surgery, was 7 for 20 from the field after going 18 of 51 over his previous three games. In Friday's loss at Oklahoma City, the four-time All-Star guard missed 14 of 20 attempts — including all six from 3-point range. Smith was 5 for 14 after missing his first eight shots.
Clippers rookie Blake Griffin scored 19 of his 31 points in the first half and pulled down 15 rebounds for his 27th double-double and 21st in a row. Baron Davis had 15 points and five assists.
Atlanta trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter and was shooting just 31.7 percent at halftime. But the Hawks went on a 15-2 run to turn a seven-point deficit into a 91-85 lead with 4:42 left in the game.
Jamal Crawford began the rally with three free throws after getting fouled by Eric Gordon behind the arc. DeAndre Jordan was whistled for goaltending on Johnson's short jumper with 6 minutes to play, giving the Hawks an 86-85 lead.
It was Atlanta's first lead since Mike Bibby opened the game with a 15-foot jumper.
Smith added a 3-pointer and Johnson capped the decisive run with five points. Crawford then hit a 17-footer, Al Horford followed with a layup and Bibby added a 3-pointer to help seal the victory.
Crawford finished with 24 points. Smith also had 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.
Clippers guard Eric Gordon, who came in with a team-high 23.8 scoring average, spent the final 8:27 of the first quarter on the bench after picking up two fouls 46 seconds apart. But it didn't faze the Clippers, whose game-opening 19-8 run included a slam dunk by Griffin off a no-look, over-the-shoulder alley-oop pass from Davis. Los Angeles led 31-18 at the end of the quarter after shooting 15 for 20.
Rookie guard Eric Bledsoe converted the Clippers' first 3-point shot of the game with 6:03 left in the half, extending the margin to 43-27.
Smith ended his shooting drought on a 3-pointer that trimmed Los Angeles' lead to 55-48 with 10:14 left in the third quarter, and the Hawks closed to 76-73 on a three-point play by Zaza Pachulia with 11:06 remaining.
NOTES: Michael Cage, whose record for consecutive double-doubles by a Clippers player was broken by Griffin last Wednesday, was a pregame and postgame guest commentator for Sunday's local telecast on Fox Sports Net — an assignment that was scheduled a month earlier. Cage, who lives in Newport Beach, was sitting under the Clippers' basket on Nov. 20 at Staples Center when Griffin scored a career-high 44 points — including that now-famous dunk he made over Knicks rookie Timofey Mozgov by balancing his non-shooting hand on Mozgov's head before throwing it down. "My kids 'You Tube' him all the time. I can't get away from it," a smiling Cage told the Associated Press. "Every time I wake up, it's "Dad, come here. Let me show you this Blake Griffin dunk from last night.' And it's really kind of neat, because it's been a long time since the Clippers have had a fun, exciting player that appeals to the whole league." ... Atlanta outscored Los Angeles 37-24 in the final quarter.