After A Long Wait, Blazers Get First Home Win Of Season

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- It took a lot longer than they would have liked, but the Portland Trail Blazers finally got their first win at home this season.

After dropping their first three games at home for just the second time in franchise history, the Trail Blazers needed overtime in their fourth attempt to get the win, but eventually came away with a 124-113 victory versus the Atlanta Hawks in front of a sellout crowd of 20,041 Sunday night at the Moda Center.

"Needless to say, we needed that win," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "I thought our guys really fought through and found a way to win however it came, and it didn't come easy. Atlanta made some big plays, some loose balls, but we fought through some of that, fought through some misadventures and transitions, but we needed it. No matter how we got it, we got it."

The Trail Blazers are now 4-6 overall and 1-3 at home this season. The win ends a four-game losing streak for Portland and is their fourth straight victory versus Atlanta. It is also the Trail Blazers' first victory versus an Eastern Conference opponent this season.

If Portland hadn't lost their first three games at the Moda Center this season in heartbreaking fashion, the players and fans in attendance probably would have felt better about the Blazers jumping out to an early 18-10 lead after a Hassan Whiteside dunk with 4:23 to play in the first quarter. That skepticism ultimately proved warranted, with the Trail Blazers going on short runs all game long, only to have the Hawks answer back nearly every time.

So with 19 ties, 14 lead changes and neither team holding a lead larger than eight points in regulation, it only seemed fair that the game should go to overtime.

Though Portland came close to finishing the job in the first 48 minutes after Damian Lillard made a driving layup with 7.6 seconds to play to give the Blazers a 107-105 advantage. But on the ensuing possession, Hawks forward Kevin Huerter drove past both CJ McCollum and Mario Hezonja to finishing a high arching layup to tie the game with 0.7 seconds to play.

Blazers guard Anfernee Simons got a good look at a corner three for three win, but the shot carom off the rim, sending the game to overtime.

Portland started the extra period with back-to-back three-pointers from Kent Bazemore, who started in place of Rodney Hood (back spasm), a Hassan Whiteside rebound/tip-in and a CJ McCollum three, his first of the game, for an 11-2 run and a 118-109 lead. After a Damian Jones dunk, McCollum and Hezonja scored the next five points, giving the home team their largest lead of the game at 123-111 with just over a minute to play in the extra period.

And even for a team that has already suffered through multiple late-game misfortunes this season, an 11-point lead would be enough.

"We came out there and I felt like we were just doing the right things," said Lillard of the overtime. "We were coming up with stops, deflections, the ball started hopping around, making shots. I don’t think we could have played that five minutes any better than we did when the game was on the line and such a bid situation for us. So I was just excited for our team."

TOP PERFORMERS

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 30 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field, 3-of-9 shooting from three and 11-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. He also added seven rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block in 44 minutes.

After missing his first five attempts, CJ McCollum made his first three-pointer of the game late in overtime to help lift Portland to the victory. He finished with 23 points on 11-of-23 shooting, eight rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes.

Hassan Whiteside finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds to go with three blocks in 35 minutes.

Anfernee Simons scored 12 of his 20 points in the third quarter and Kent Bazemore, who started Sunday's game made back-to-back three-pointers in overtime versus his former team to finish with 13 points to go with eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 33 minutes.

Hawks point guard Trae Young led all scorers with 35 points while also coming close to a triple-double with 10 assists and eight rebounds in 43 minutes. Jabari Parker went 13-of-23 for 27 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds for the double-double.

NOTES

• Portland had four 20 point scorers for the first time since March 18th, 2014 (vs. Milwaukee). The Trail Blazers join the Pacers as the only teams to have four different players score 20-plus points in a game this season.

• The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Hawks 60-49, with Portland’s 60 rebounds being a season-high.

• The Trail Blazers blocked nine shots while Atlanta had eight blocks. Both teams recorded 10 steals. • The Trail Blazers had 28 attempts from the FT line, the most they have attempted this season (made 22).

• Both teams recorded 54 points in the paint.• The Trail Blazers bench outscored the Atlanta reserves, 34-18.

QUOTES

"I like the shots I’ve been getting, I’ve just got to capitalize. Just got back to the lab, I tightened some stuff up, talked to my guy Phil who broke some shots down for me, sent them to me and I was able to get a better understanding of how I was missing." -- CJ McCollum

HIGHLIGHTS

NEXT UP

With their first home win in the books, the Trail Blazers hit the road yet again for a quick trip to Sacramento to play the Kings for the second time in two weeks at Golden1 Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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