Portland Hands Hawks Fifth Straight Loss

Thursday, March 27, 2014
By Robby Kalland

Portland Trail Blazers v Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks (31-39) dropped their fifth game in a row as the Trail Blazers (46-27) came into Atlanta and ended a three-game skid of their own with a 100-85 victory. LaMarcus Aldridge made his first appearance in two weeks and put up 25 points and 16 rebounds on Atlanta. Damian Lillard added 21 points, six rebounds, and four assists for Portland.

Hawks vs. Blazers
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The Hawks were without Kyle Korver for the fifth straight game as he continues to deal with back spasms, and after spraining his ankle last night in Minnesota Pero Antic was unable to play. In their places, the Hawks started Elton Brand and Shelvin Mack, who both gave solid efforts. Brand had 11 points and 12 rebounds in 30 minutes of play, while Mack had nine points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting, bouncing back from a scoreless game last night against the Timberwolves. Teague had 13 points in the first half as he and Brand were the bright spots of an otherwise disastrous first half for Atlanta.

The second quarter was especially rough, as the Blazers scored 31 points on 64.7% shooting and had 10 assists on their 11 made field goals. Lillard, Aldridge and Robin Lopez combined for 21 points — the same amount the Hawks scored in the quarter — as the Blazers offense hit it’s stride after a spotty first quarter.

The Hawks cut the 16 point halftime deficit down to six in the third quarter as the starters opened the quarter with a lot of energy on both ends of the floor. The Blazers pulled back ahead by 14 going into the fourth, aided by a contested Lillard three at the buzzer. The Blazers ended each of the first three quarters with a three-pointer with under one second left (Mo Williams in the first, Wes Matthews in the second, and Lillard in the third).

Lou Williams was quiet for the first three quarters, but exploded in the fourth for 13 of his 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Led by Williams, the Hawks were able to get the deficit back down to six, but looked like they ran out of gas at the end and were never able to finish the comeback effort.

Paul Millsap had 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals on the night, and was a team-high in +/- with a +5 (only player with a positive rating) in 35 minutes. Millsap was just 3-of-15 from the field (0-for-4 from three) and could never get his offensive game working. DeMarre Carroll was the only Hawk other than Brand and Teague to shoot 50% or better, going 5-of-6 from the field with 11 points and four rebounds.

The Blazers length had an advantage over the depleted Hawks on the glass with a 47-39 rebounding advantage, and had 14 second chance points off of 13 offensive rebounds. The real killer for the Hawks was their inability to make three-point shots, as they shot just 4-for-22 (18.2%) from deep — Portland shot 10-for-26 (38.5%). Atlanta got some good looks from deep, but their shots just wouldn’t cooperate.

The loss makes their lead for eighth place in the East just 1.5 games over the Knicks (2 in the loss column) and 3.5 games behind Charlotte for seventh. Atlanta will head to Washington for a tilt on Saturday night, with the Wizards looking to hold onto their sixth seed.

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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