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- Jamal Crawford, the second-leading scorer for the Clippers, is set to return tonight when L.A. hosts the Hawks at Staples Center. Crawford missed the last three games with a strained left calf, though the Clippers didn’t skip a beat in winning all three to stretch their win streak to a season-high six games. In fact, L.A. posted its largest win in franchise history in a 142-94 win Thursday night over the Lakers. Crawford, who’s averaging 19 points, second on the team to Blake Griffin at 24.1, spent two seasons in Atlanta, earning NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Hawks in 2009-10. Crawford has been forced into a starting role for two stretches this season while J.J. Redick battled various injuries, but Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Crawford will come off the bench tonight with Darren Collison remaining the starting shooting guard.
- Three games into his return from a 16-game absence due to an ankle injury, Pero Antic will start at center for the Hawks. Antic has come a long way since these teams last met Dec. 4 in Atlanta, when Antic wasn’t even used in the game. Before he went down with the injury, the 6-11 rookie from Macedonia had moved into a starting role and scored in double figures in a season-high three straight games. He scored 10 points off the bench in each of the first two games since his return. Elton Brand, who played seven seasons with the Clippers from 2001-08, will return to the bench for Atlanta but should see significant minutes after shooting 57.6 percent from the floor over the last five games. Brand remains unpopular among Clippers fans because he opted out of the final year of his contract and signed a five-year deal with the 76ers.
- Paul Millsap returned from a five-game absence due to a right knee contusion in Friday’s loss at Golden State and the eight-year veteran apparently won’t have any issues playing in back-to-back games, coach Mike Budenholzer said. Millsap had 16 points and seven rebounds against Golden State and is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Millsap had 25 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks when Atlanta beat the Clippers by 10 points back in December.
– Dan Arritt