Notebook: Trail Blazers 104, Hawks 93



Posted Mar 22, 2013 11:35 PM

By Matt Winkeljohn, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Trail Blazers sure didn't seem to mind being delayed on their trip to Philips Arena Friday night, as Wesley Matthews scored 28 points, the Hawks imploded late and the Blazers won 104-93 win in Atlanta.

Portland (33-36) didn't get to the arena until about 90 minutes before the game Friday because a police chase in downtown Atlanta that involved multiple accidents mucked up traffic. The Blazers, though, played like a team that wants to work its way back into the playoff picture.

The game was 45-all at halftime before the Hawks (38-31), who are jostling for position in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race, looked to be pulling away to lead by 11 in the middle of the third. Then, the Blazers came to life and scorched the home team 49-27.

But, after Josh Smith dunked to give Atlanta a 66-55 lead with 5:26 left in the third quarter, the Blazers took over. Matthews scored eight of Portland's next 11 points, including two of his five 3-pointers.

Smith led Atlanta with 24 points, Jeff Teague added 21 and Al Horford had 15 points and 17 rebounds. Rookie point guard Damian Lillard added two of his four treys in the final 4:03 of the third, and all four of his long balls came between that point and the end of the game as he scored 22 points.

QUOTABLE: "We didn't even have a shootaround, and I didn't warm up at all. I didn't even eat until 15 minutes before the game. It just seemed like everything was stacked against us."

-- Wesley Matthews, who shot 10-for-17, including 5-for-8 from distance

THE STAT: 81.8 percent -- the Blazers shot just 1-for-7 on 3-pointers in the first half, which ended 45-45. They shot 6-for-8 in the third quarter and 3-for-3 in the fourth (9-for-11, 81.8 percent).

TURNING POINT: Leading 76-73 to begin the final period, Atlanta scored first on Ivan Johnson's jumper, but the Blazers scored nine straight points -- the first six coming on back-to-back treys by Nicolas Batum and Lillard -- and never trailed nor were tied again.

QUOTABLE II: "It's crunch time. Guys know we have to throw this one away. We let a big game slide."

-- Jeff Teague

HOT: LaMarcus Aldridge carried the Blazers early with nine points and three rebounds in the first quarter. He finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots and has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games. He also grabbed at least 10 rebounds in five of those games, and eight in the other. . . . Lillard (4-for-5) has shot 8-for-12 on 3-pointers in the past two games.

NOT: The Hawks missed all four of their 3-point tries in the fourth quarter, when they shot 6-for-18 overall and had four of their 11 turnovers. . . . Smith missed all four of his treys, and is 0-for-9 in the past three games.

QUOTABLE III: "With back-to-back wins like this on the road against Chicago and Atlanta, I'm very proud of my team."

-- Blazers coach, and former Hawks coach, Terry Stotts

BAD MOVE: Hawks coach Larry Drew has used 24 different starting lineups this season, and on Friday he went back to the same quintet that started when Atlanta won 95-87 on Nov. 12 in Portland -- largely because the Hawks won that game. It didn't work. DeShawn Stevenson, who has played sparingly of late, was 1-for-5 with three points, one rebound and no assists at shooting guard, and he had no luck checking Matthews.

QUOTABLE IV: "We have turned into a team that's trying to outscore people, which is not who we are; it's not who we want to be . . . tonight, our defense let us down."

-- Larry Drew

ROOKIE REPORT: In 29-plus solid minutes, 7-foot-1 reserve center Meyers Leonard had four points but, more importantly, nine rebounds as Portland outrebounded Atlanta 48-41.

NOTABLE: Portland snapped a four-game losing streak in Atlanta. . . . J.J. Hickson's homecoming was successful. The Portland center, who attended Wheeler High School in northern metro Atlanta before playing one season at N.C. State, had 15 points and 10 rebounds one night after grabbing a career-high 21 rebounds in Chicago. . . . The Blazers closed the game with a 14-4 run.

UP NEXT: For the Blazers, Sunday @ Oklahoma City, Wednesday vs. Brooklyn, Friday vs. Utah. For the Hawks, Sunday @ Milwaukee, Monday @ Indiana, Wednesday @ Toronto.