By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Blake Griffin had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Wesley Johnson scored a season-high 24 points and the Los Angeles Clippers snapped a nine-game skid with a 116-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
The Clippers had dropped 11 of 12, but they overcame a monthlong struggle of closing out opponents, taking the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Lou Williams with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
Los Angeles handed out a season-high 30 assists.
Atlanta matched its biggest lead at seven on Dennis Schroder’s 3-pointer with 7:49 left in the third. But the Hawks fell apart against the more talented Clippers, losing their third straight to drop to 3-15, worst in the Eastern Conference.
Marco Belinelli finished with 20 points and Schroder added 19.
Johnson hit six of his first seven 3-point attempts and went 8 for 10 from the field. Williams finished with 20 points, and Austin Rivers added 18. DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Clippers: G Lou Williams, a productive sixth man for most of his career, made just his second start since he played for the Lakers in 2015-16. In 13 seasons, Williams has scored 8,599 points as a reserve, second only to Jamal Crawford among active players.
Hawks: Rookie F John Collins, the 19th overall draft pick, made his first career start and finished with 14 points and team highs with 10 rebounds and 38 minutes. Collins got the nod with back tightness still bothering Luke Babbitt, but he could hold the job the rest of the season given that he’s shooting over 58 percent from the field and consistently plays above the rim.
Clippers G Patrick Beverley is expected to miss the rest of the season after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The procedure to repair a lateral meniscus was Wednesday in Houston. Beverley has appeared in 11 games since arriving in the Chris Paul trade, averaging 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.73 steals and 30.3 minutes.
Clippers: Visit Sacramento on Saturday.
Hawks: Host New York on Friday.