Atlanta Hawks big man Ivan Johnson dunk the ball against the Clippers on… (Erik S. Lesser / EPA )
ATLANTA — The Clippers took a beating from the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night, losing 104-93 at Philips Arena.
That's about the best way to explain what happened to a Clippers team that looked dead in its third consecutive loss on this four-game trip that L.A. had to be glad is coming to an end.
The Clippers were down by as much as 27 points in the third quarter before they made a fruitless attempt to finally play hard.
They even had a stretch in the fourth quarter when they lost their composure.
Matt Barnes was hit with a technical foul in the fourth quarter and Blake Griffin (22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists) was hit with one in the fourth while sitting on the bench and not even in the game.
The Clippers now have to contemplate on the four-hour flight back to Los Angeles how a trip that started with so much promise after the victory at San Antonio could end so horribly with losses at Oklahoma City, Brooklyn and Atlanta.
"That's a terrible road trip for us," said Chris Paul, who had 19 points and seven assists in 38 minutes, 50 seconds. "Especially with all of them being winnable games.
"Oklahoma City, we had a chance to win that one. Brooklyn, we're up at halftime. We should have won that one. And [Atlanta] we were capable of winning. So it's bad, bad, especially for the team that we want to be."
The Clippers made one last push after Jamal Crawford made a three-pointer while being fouled, completing the rare four-point after making the free throw. He made two more free throws, pulling the Clippers to within 10 points, fooling them into believing they had a chance to win the game.
Atlanta, with 19 points and 11 assists from Jeff Teague and 19 points and 12 rebounds from Zaza Pachulia, ran its lead back up to 19 points in the fourth.
Both teams were playing on back-to-back nights, but it was the Clippers that looked the worst.
They allowed 30 points in the second quarter and 34 more points in the third.
The Clippers' usually reliable second unit snoozed in the second quarter and put the Clippers in an 11-point hole.
That forced Coach Vinny Del Negro to bring in his starters. But after the starters came back in the game, the Hawks continued on for a 16-0 run.
The Clippers, who missed their first nine shots in the second quarter, trailed by 15 points at one point in the second.
"That was the first time our bench kind of put us behind by that much," Del Negro said. "Then we were chasing the rest of the game.… Just not a good performance overall, for sure."