The unimaginable is becoming routine.
The Hawks used a strong second half to pull away from the host Clippers to sweep a three-game west coast trip and win for the 19th time in 21 games.
The Hawks swept the season series with the Clippers after a 107-98 win Monday night at the Staples Center. The Hawks have won five straight overall and eight straight against Western Conference teams. The last two wins, over the Trail Blazers and Clippers, have come against teams that were a combined 30-6 at home.
The Hawks (26-8) were led by the dynamic duo of Paul Millsap (23 points, eight rebounds) and Jeff Teague (20 points, nine assists).
Here are my five observations from the game:
1. Teague was named Player of the Week Monday afternoon and went out that night to add to his impressive numbers. In addition to his points and assists totals, Teague added four steals and made three 3-pointers. In all, the Hawks had 13 steals with seven different players recording a theft.
2. The Hawks seized control of a close game by outscoring the Clippers 33-23 in the third quarter. The Hawks ended the period on an 8-2 run to take a 77-69 lead into the fourth. Teague finished with 12 points and four assists in the period. The Clippers lost Chris Paul to his fourth foul with 7:08 remaining and sat the rest of the quarter. He fouled out late in the fourth quarter with 10 points and 10 assists and probably should have gone earlier when he punched a ball into the stands after being called for his fifth foul.
3. The Hawks outscored the Clippers 63-52 in the second half and led by as many as 17 points. In the second half, Teague had 14 points, Millsap and Al Horford (16) had 12 each and DeMarre Carroll (17) had nine. The Hawks made 6 of 11 from 3-point range in the final two quarters as part of a 13 of 27 night.
4. The Hawks seemingly get a big performance from a bench player each night. Against the Clippers, it was Pero Antic. The reserve center had 13 points, including nine in the second half. Thabo Sefolosha again was big defensively off the bench with a two steals.
5. One of the things to like about the Hawks is they keep their composure. They fell behind early in all three games on the trip, including being down 11-2 to start versus the Clippers. They were able to battle back and even take a brief lead before the quarter was over. The Clippers led nearly all of the second quarter as well. Once the Hawks took the lead with 10:05 left in the third quarter, they never trailed again. They clearly frustrated the Clippers with their defensive activity and pace of play.