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Al Thornton's 31 points provide a big spark for Clippers

Zach Randolph contributes 25 points and the Clippers win consecutive games for the first time since December.

February 08, 2009|Associated Press

ATLANTA — Al Thornton scored 31 points, Zach Randolph had 25 and the Clippers beat the Atlanta Hawks, 121-97, Saturday night.

The Clippers improved to 7-19 on the road and won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 16, a span of 26 games.

A poor start doomed Atlanta, which went 5 minutes 48 seconds without a field goal in the first quarter and trailed, 17-4.

"Tonight was as close as we've been to our normal rotation," Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We were moving the ball, getting clean looks and getting good shots. Al Thornton was terrific tonight."

For Thornton, a former Florida State standout who grew up in Perry, Ga., 100 miles south of Atlanta, the homecoming of sorts was refreshing in the middle of another long season for the Clippers.

"It was good to have a game like this in front of my family and friends," said Thornton, who made 13 of 22 shots from the field. "It's very important for us to get on a roll because we've been struggling all year. Hopefully we can carry some of this momentum into the [All-Star] break [next week]."

For Atlanta, the difference was playing poor defense.

"I feared that coming in," Coach Mike Woodson said. "You can't look at their record. Their starting five are as good as any starting five in the league."

Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams each scored 17 points for the Hawks, and Josh Smith had 16 points and 15 rebounds.

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