for this game

Hawks rally to overtake Clippers

Feb 15, 2007 - 8:06 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Clippers hadn't blown a fourth-quarter lead all season. They have now.

Joe Johnson scored 27 points as the Atlanta Hawks erased a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to post a 96-93 victory over the Clippers.

Los Angeles was 14-0 this season when leading entering the fourth quarter but was unable to extend the streak playing without leading scorer and rebounder Elton Brand, who is out with back spasms.

"This was a horrible loss for us," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We had a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. Some of these guys need to take these next four days off and get their heads straight defensively. We got beat too easily off the dribble.

"They had 19 second-chance points and that was a big difference in the game."

Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley picked up the slack in Brand's absence, scoring 31 points through three quarters. But he appeared to injure his groin and eventually was forced from the game in the final period and Los Angeles' offense disappeared with him.

"We are supposed to win that game," Los Angeles guard Corey Maggette. "We are up 15 and we made some mistakes. We just don't have it right now. We need this break to try and find some way to improve and come out with a new look because this right here is terrible.

"We just need to be a better team from the players to the coach. That's what it boils down to."

Josh Smith scored 11 of his 19 points in the final 12 minutes for Atlanta, although he was poised to be the goat when he clanged a breakaway dunk with the Hawks trailing, 90-88, and just over two minutes to play.

Josh Childress scored inside to pull Atlanta even and Johnson put his team ahead to stay, hitting a layup with 19 seconds left and two free throws for a 94-90 lead with 8.1 seconds remaining.

Tim Thomas drilled a long 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds to go to give the Clippers hope, but Johnson buried two more free throws with 4.3 to play.

"I thought we focused and buckled down in the fourth quarter," Johnson said. "We came out with a lot of intensity and focus. I thought we peaked in the fourth quarter.

"We've been playing better on the road, much better than we have at home. We just have to keep working on what we are doing right.

Chris Kaman had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, but he missed three free throws down the stretch as the Clippers lost for the ninth straight time on Valentine's Day.

"It's disappointing because we had a lot of good things happen in the game," Dunleavy said. "There were some great performances. Cuttino played a terrific game or us and Kaman played a terrific game too. We have to take this time off and bounce back."

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