Clippers snap nine-game losing streak with 116-103 defeat of Hawks
The bad news arrived midday Wednesday, when the Clippers announced that guard Patrick Beverley had season-ending right knee surgery.
The good news materialized later that night, when the Clippers earned a 116-103 win over the hapless Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
In accepting the good with the bad, the Clippers broke a nine-game losing streak that was taking a toll.
“I told the guys before the game that we have so much to be thankful for and right now you’re in this losing streak and all you do is think about that and all the bad stuff,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I said most people in the world would trade for your worst day. They would trade with you on your worst day.
“So you should be thankful for each other, be thankful that you’re sitting in a locker room healthy. You have a teammate that’s sitting in a hospital room in a hospital bed. So go out on the court and just be thankful for each other and go play, and I thought they did that.”
As their fortunes would have it, earning their first win in three weeks was tempered because Beverley had arthroscopic surgery to repair a lateral meniscus, and he had a microfracture procedure in the knee.
His teammates took care of business without him. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Blake Griffin’s sixth career triple-double — 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
“If anybody knows about stuff like this, I feel like I do,” said Griffin, referring to his many injuries over the years. “I told Pat the biggest thing he can do now is attack this rehab like he does everything else, like he does games. It’s not going to be a problem for him. I was just trying to give him words of encouragement.”
The Clippers broke the game open in the fourth quarter, letting the three-pointer be their main weapon. They were 15 for 30 from three-point range.
Lou Williams, who started his first game of the season in place of Beverley, drilled a three-pointer for part of his 20 points.
Wesley Johnson followed with a three-pointer. He finished with 24 points, his most in three seasons with the Clippers. He made eight of 10 shots, including six of seven three-pointers.
The Clippers (6-11) got their first win since Nov. 1 against Dallas.
“I feel after every loss, we kept saying it’s going to come,” Griffin said. “You just got to stay positive, stay focused. The best part about tonight was how we got the win. Banged up, got awful news today, but guys just focused.”
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