Trail Blazers vs Hawks Saturday, 03/12/11 AT 04:00PM

Road Trip Wrap Up In Atlanta

  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 4.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers' successful road trip quickly turned sour after falling to the Charlotte Bobcats last night, but the Trail Blazers (37-28) have little time to lament the loss, as they head to Philips Arena to wrap up a back-to-back and four-game road swing against the Atlanta Hawks (37-28) on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 PM.

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

    The Trail Blazers saw their seven-game road win streak and a string of four straight overall victories come to an end last night in a 97-92 loss to the Bobcats.

    Despite 20 points from Matthews and Portland outshooting its opponent 45.1 to 42.9 percent, the Trail Blazers were outscored 26-9 at the free throw line. Late in the game, Portland missed four out of six foul shots, as Charlotte sealed the win.

    Aldridge finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Miller added 15 points and nine assists, while Batum and Gerald Wallace posted 13 points apiece to go along with seven and nine boards, respectively.

    The Hawks have dropped four straight and five of their last six since defeating Portland on Feb. 27, including thier latest loss - a 94-76 rout against the Chicago Bulls.

    In that game, the Hawks were on the wrong end of a 24-10 rally that, when completed, had Atlanta trailing 72-60. Chicago dominated in nearly every facet of the game, outrebounding the opponent 50-28 - 14-4 on the offensive end - outscoring the Hawks 19-9 in fastbreak points and muscling its way to a 36-22 margin in the paint.

    Joe Johnson paced the Hawks with 16 points, Josh Smith recorded 15 points and six rebounds, while Jamal Crawford put up 14 points off the bench.

    Portland and Atlanta last met at the Rose Garden on Feb. 27, when the Hawks used the second and third quarters to space themselves from their hosts. In those periods, Atlanta outscored the Trail Blazers 49-31, carrying a 19-point lead into the fourth and at one point led by as many as 23.

    Johnson's three-pointer at the 5:54 mark of the closing quarter gave Atlanta a 20-point advantage, but Portland stormed back with a 16-2 rally that narrowed the gap to 82-78.

    Crawford, however, pocketed a three-ball and hit a pair of free throws to seal the 90-83 win.

    The Hawks committed a season-high 25 turnovers, but compensated with a 44-34 advantage in the paint while also outrebounding Portland 49-34 and outscoring the Trail Blazers 17-4 in fastbreak points.

    Miller was the high-point man for Portland with 20 points and seven rebounds, Aldridge posted 19 points and eight boards, and Matthews finished with 12 points, but the Trail Blazers shot just 39 percent from the floor, including a 4-for-21 mark from three-point range. Wallace made his Trail Blazer debut with nine points and five rebounds.

    Crawford poured in 23 points off the bench for the Hawks, while Johnson contributed with 22 points. Smith finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

    Portland had taken six consecutive matchups in Atlanta from 2003-2008, but the Hawks have won the last two in Philips Arena.

    Overall, the Hawks have downed the Trail Blazers four straight times, marking the longest stretch since Atlanta put together six wins in a row in the mid 1990's, but Portland still has the advantage over the last 18 contests, coming out victorious 13 times.

    Sidelined for the Trail Blazers are Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are out with knee injuries.

    Saturday's contest can be seen on Comcast SportsNet with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, while Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey will have the call on 95.5 FM The Game.

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