"I think we got a little careless with the basketball," said Smith, who had a team-high five turnovers. "Whenever you give a home team momentum plays like that, it's kind of hard to give yourself the opportunity to win in the fourth quarter."
After Lou Williams' short jumper at the other end, the Clippers broke it open and built an 85-65 cushion with 3:49 to play after scoring 13 straight points. During the run, Barnes converted a dunk and a layup on fast breaks after turnovers by Smith.
"It was our defense that did it for us down the stretch," Griffin said. "I don't remember how many stops in a row we had, but I think we had something like eight or nine. That's the kind of defense you have to have to close out a game like that — and that was with our 'second team.' A lot of these guys could be starting on a good number of NBA teams. So it's not much of a drop-off."
The Hawks coughed up the ball 10 times in the final quarter while going almost 6 minutes without a field goal. To make matters worse, they missed nine of 16 free-throw attempts in the game.
"The turnovers and free-throw shooting were bad," coach Larry Drew said. "We couldn't make a free throw and we had 22 turnovers. I thought our guys followed our game plan for 2½ quarters. But midway into the third, it was like we totally forgot what had put us in the position we were in and we abandoned it. We got sped up with the pressure, and we let the officiating bother us. We let some calls get us out of character and lost our focus and composure. We can't play like that on the road."
NOTES: Shaquille O'Neal watched the game from a front-row seat at midcourt with his daughter Amira, but he said he wasn't sticking around for the Lakers-Sacramento game that followed. During Thursday night's TNT coverage of the Clippers' game at Portland, O'Neal said he thought Jordan was the best center in the Western Conference — Dwight Howard notwithstanding. ... The Clippers have two days off before hosting Miami on Wednesday night. Since moving to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 campaign, they are 18-68 against teams that won an NBA title the previous season.
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