LOS ANGELES —
Josh Smith had 13 points for the Hawks, who shot 41.7 percent from the field in the opener of a four-game road trip. They also committed 22 turnovers that were converted into 24 Clippers points.
"Defense is more important than anything," Crawford said. "Offense comes and goes, and it can muck up the game sometimes. But today we were able to get out and really get after it defensively. That was the difference in the game. That's something we know we can do every single game, because we practice against the starters — who aren't too shabby. So whenever you practice against a group like that, you get more confidence and it makes you better."
Coming off consecutive victories over San Antonio and Portland, the Clippers took a 65-60 lead into the fourth. Neither team led by more than six until Barnes stole the ball from Ivan Johnson and raced down the floor for a breakaway dunk that gave Los Angeles a 70-62 lead with 10:10 remaining.
"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."