ATLANTA, Dec. 17 (Ticker) -- Darius Miles
is taking advantage of his
time in the starting lineup.
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Miles scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half as the
Portland Trail Blazers pulled away and snapped a five-game road
losing streak with a 100-84 victory over the lowly Atlanta
Filling in for former-Hawk Shareef Abdur-Rahim
, who missed his
second straight game with a hyperextended right elbow, Miles
made 10-of-13 shots for Portland, which shot better than 57
percent (41-of-71) from the field.
"This is what we expect from Darius," Portland coach Maurice
Cheeks said. "Darius fills up a lot of boxes in the stats and he
can ignite our team."
Miles scored a season-high 21 points in his first start of the
"It doesn't matter if I'm starting or not," said Miles, who also
had eight rebounds and four steals. "I'm just trying to be
aggressive on the offensive end, get a couple of steals, and
pick up a few easy points for us."
Thanks in part to Miles, Portland was able to capitalize on the
easy bucket, holding a 17-7 advantage over Atlanta on the fast
"We just tried to stick with our game plan," Miles said. "We
really attacked when we got rebounds, tried to beat them down
court, and attack."
The Hawks, who were held to a season-low 69 points Wednesday,
continued to struggle. They shot just 30 percent (13-of-43) in
the first half as the Trail Blazers took a 43-39 lead at the
Atlanta was within 56-54 on a dunk by Tony Delk
remaining in the third period before Derek Anderson
3-pointer to ignite a 12-1 run that gave the Blazers a
comfortable 68-55 advantage three minutes later.
"We stopped putting an emphasis on keeping them out of the
paint," said Hawks rookie Josh Childress
, whose team was
outscored, 64-40, inside. "They had 29 points at the half in the
paint. One of our goals in the second half was to limit their
opportunities, and we didn't. And that's where the game was
scored five of his 23 points in the spurt for
Portland, which won despite committing 25 turnovers.
"We can't play like that," said Portland center Theo Ratliff
who recorded five blocks against his former team. "If we're
going to turn the ball over like that, we're going to lose
games. You just have to value the ball a little more."
After the Blazers took a 21-14 lead into the second quarter, the
Hawks went on a 15-2 run to give them a 29-23 lead with 7:54 to
play in the half. But Portland closed the period with a 10-2
outburst to move back in front for good.
Rookie Josh Smith
matched his season high with 14 points for the
Hawks, who lost their fourth straight game and are off to the
worst start in franchise history (4-19).