The first home game after a long road trip often leads to a disappointing performance. It certainly did for the Portland Trail Blazers their last time out.
Portland looks to rebound from its first home loss in nearly two months Sunday night when it faces the Atlanta Hawks for the second time in seven days.
The Trail Blazers (25-18) started a seven-game road trip on Jan. 13 having won four straight and 17 of 18, but their momentum was stopped with a 116-109 double-overtime defeat at Toronto, the first of four losses on the trek.
With just one off day after completing the trip with a 96-81 loss to New Orleans, Portland was unable to extend a 12-game home win streak Friday, falling 89-79 to Houston.
Brandon Roy had 16 of his 23 points in the first half for the Blazers, who lost at the Rose Garden for the first time since Nov. 28.
They made just seven of 30 shots (23.3 percent) in the second half and were outrebounded 48-30. Portland had its lowest-scoring third quarter (12), lowest-scoring second half (29) and lowest shooting percentage (35.7 percent) of the season.
Although his club was playing for the eighth time in 13 days, coach Nate McMillan refused to use the busy schedule as an excuse.
"We're not going to blame this on fatigue," McMillan told the Trail Blazers' official Web site. "Every team in the league plays the same number of games and goes through this. We've got to learn how to take care of our bodies and we've got to be mentally ready - now that we have a quick turnaround game Sunday against Atlanta."
The Blazer that has looked the most fatigued lately is LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field Friday. He is averaging 12.8 points - more than four below his season average - on 36.1 percent (22-for-61) shooting in his last four games.
A matchup with the Hawks (18-21) could help Portland get back to its winning ways.
The Blazers have won 11 of the last 12 overall meetings, and had won seven straight at home in the series before a 107-96 loss on Dec. 3, 2006 in the most recent meeting there.
Travis Outlaw hit a 20-foot jumper with one second left in overtime, lifting Portland to a 111-109 win at Atlanta on Monday.
After opening their five-game trip with a loss at Denver, the Hawks halted a four-game skid Friday with a 99-90 victory over lowly Seattle.
Every starter reached double figures for Atlanta, including Marvin Williams, who scored a career-high 33 points against his hometown team.
Williams shot 12-of-20 from the field and 9-for-12 on free throws. He also had seven rebounds and matched a career high with 20 field-goal attempts.
"As you go through this league and have the opportunity to go to your hometown and play in front of your family and friends, it's special," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "If you can put on a show like he did, it makes it even more special. He was spectacular."
The victory also ended a six-game road losing streak for the Hawks, who are averaging 99.5 points on this trip after putting up 87.3 in their first 16 contests away from home.
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