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

Teague, Crawford Lead Charge Past Portland

  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 2.0

    After opening up their road swing with consecutive quality wins in Florida, the Portland Trail Blazers (37-29) could not close it out, dropping the second of a back-to-back to the Atlanta Hawks (38-28) on Saturday night 91-82, giving Portland a 2-2 record in the four-game trip.

    Despite leading by three points at the half and by as many as seven in the third quarter, the Trail Blazers fell victim to Atlanta's hot shooting late in the game, when the Hawks ran off streaks of 19-5 to end the third quarter and 18-7 to open the fourth with help from Jamal Crawford's 20 second-half points.

    LaMarcus Aldridge powered his way to 22 points to go along with seven assists and six rebounds, while Wesley Matthews and Brandon Roy added 19 and 16 points, respectively. Rudy Fernandez finished with 10 points off the bench - all coming in the opening half - and Gerald Wallace pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds and five points.

    "They are a tough team," Matthews said. "They have a lot of talent on that side, a lot of people once they get going they can't stop. Jeff Teague had a great game, he played the passing lane well and was really active and caused some problems for us."

    Teague led the way for Atlanta, matching his career high of 24 points, while also recording a career-best five steals. Crawford ended the night with 20 points and Josh Smith chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds.

    "He gave it to me in a big way tonight," Atlanta Coach Larry Drew said of Teague. "He was senstational from start to finish on both ends of the floor... When we put him in games, we rely on him to be a nuisance defensively, and offensively, just to stay in the attack mode. Tonight, he was in attack mode from start to finish on both ends of the floor."

    The Hawks did their damage in transition as well as in the paint, outscoring the Trail Blazers 27-5 in fastbreak points and 56-28 in the lane en route to the Hawks' fifth straight victory against Portland. Atlanta also shot 51.9 percent from the floor and held its opponent to a mere 35.1 percent.

    "We were missing shots like crazy," Portland Coach Nate McMillan said. "We were missing three's last night, and tonight we were missing shots again... We were missing layups and we just looked drained tonight. We didn't take care of the ball or make shots."

    McMillan said the Trail Blazers tried to implement a different defensive look, but nothing seemed to work.

    "We tried to disrupt their rhythm with the zone, but that didn't work either," he said. "Plus we didn't make shots. This team is quick and athletic and the ydo a lot of switching on defense."

    Portland held the advantage from the free throw line, tallying 16 more points from the stripe, but the long ball would not fall, as the Trail Blazers finished just 7-for-22 from three-point range.

    The Trail Blazers missed eight of their first 10 attempts from the field, but Nicolas Batum converted an and-one bucket to give his team an early 7-5 advantage, as the Hawks gave the ball away four times in the early goings.

    The two clubs combined for a 10-30 mark with less than two minutes left in the quarter with Portland holding onto a 12-11 edge thanks to five early points from Batum.

    The Hawks scored the last eight of the period in the final 14 seconds, with seven coming off three straight Portland turnovers, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer to put Atlanta up 19-18 after one. Teague tallied six of those points during a stretch that McMillan said "changed things," giving the Hawks energy and a chance to get back into the game.

    "I just wanted to get up there and put some pressure on, try to overplay the passing lane and make something happen," he said. "I got my hands on a couple of balls, and got lucky."

    Atlanta's run became 14-2 to grab a five-point lead in the second quarter.

    Portland responded with a 15-4 string, capped off by a Wallace trey that put the Trail Blazers back in front 37-31 late in the first half.

    In the second half, the Hawks stormed back, led by Crawford, who tallied 10 points in the third to help Atlanta build a 16-5 rally to take a 57-52 lead. The margin increased to eight when Crawford canned another three-ball that extended the run to 21-7.

    Atlanta closed the third on a 19-5 run, with 10 points coming on second-chance opportunities, as the Hawks took a 62-54 lead into the final frame. The Trail Blazers were outrebounded 15-5 in the third and were outscored 27-16.

    The Hawks continued their hot shooting in the fourth, jumping out to a 18-point lead midway through the quarter thanks to an 8-10 shooting mark to open the period after missing their initial two attempts.

    Portland narrowed the gap to 10 when Roy pocketed just the sixth three-pointer for the Trail Blazers with 2:05 remaining in the game, but Crawford later buried his fourth trey of the half to put the game away, as the Hawks won 91-82.

    "The road trip was not as good as we wanted, but we will take two wins over nothing any day, especially against high caliber teams such as Miami and Orlando," Matthews said. "Those wins give us confidence knowing we can play with everybody."

    The Trail Blazers return to the Rose Garden on Tuesday to host the Dallas Mavericks (47-18), which will spark a three-game homestand for Portland.

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