Trail Blazers vs Hawks Sunday, 02/27/11 AT 07:30PM

Hawks Fly In To Take On Streaking Trail Blazers

  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The second half of the season is underway, and the Portland Trail Blazers are beginning to find a rhythm at the right time.

    Although they dropped an overtime contest to the Los Angeles Lakers right out of the All-Star break, the Trail Blazers (33-25) have strung together seven wins in the last eight games and look to add an eighth victory against the Atlanta Hawks (35-23) on Sunday night at the Rose Garden. Tipoff is set for 7:30 PM.

    Projected to start for Portland are Rudy Fernandez, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller.

    After falling in extra time to the Lakers, the Trail Blazers once again found themselves in an overtime game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

    To get there, Brandon Roy provided some late-night heroics, burying a three-ball with 5.8 seconds left in regulation to force the extra frame, where Aldridge knocked down the game-winning free throws with less than 25 seconds to go.

    Roy finished with 18 points off the bench, while Aldridge tallied a team-high 24 points and 14 rebounds. Three others added at least 16 points, including Miller (18 points, nine boards, nine assists) and Rudy Fernandez (18 points).

    The Trail Blazers were outscored 15-5 on fastbreak points, but they more than made up for it with a 50-38 advantage in the paint.

    As for the Atlanta, the Hawks have dropped five of their last seven but are coming off a solid 95-79 win against the Golden State Warriors.

    Atlanta powered to a 49-34 rebounding advantage, as Josh Smith registered a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds. Al Horford put up 22 points, 13 boards and seven assists.

    Although the Hawks gave the ball up 22 times, they compensated by converting 16 Warrior turnovers into 28 points.

    In the Portland-Atlanta series, the Hawks have put together three-straight wins, but the Trail Blazers have otherwise dominated by taking 13 of the last 17 contests and nine of the last 11 at the Rose Garden. Portland seeks its 50th win all-time in the series on Sunday.

    During each of the two games last year, Portland led by as many as 12 points before the Hawks rallied to win by an average of five.

    Aldridge paced the Trail Blazers with 19 points and 11.5 boards, while Roy chipped in with 18 points, 5.5 rebounds and five assists.

    Joe Johnson was the star, however, leading all scorers with 27 points per game to go along with 5.5 boards and six assists, as Atlanta held a 93-73 rebounding advantage while outscoring the opposition 106-70 in the paint.

    Out for Portland are Greg Oden, Elliot Williams and Marcus Camby, who are all sidelined with knee injuries.

    Sunday night's contest can be seen on Comcast SportsNet with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice as well as on ESPN. Meanwhile, Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey will have the play-by-play on 95.5 FM The Game.

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