Trail Blazers vs Hawks Friday, 03/22/13 AT 04:30PM

Matthews' 28 Points Helps Trail Blazers Blow By Hawks

03/22/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    Wesley Matthews had it going all night long from deep as he scored 28 points to lead the Trail Blazers (32-36) to a 104-93 victory over the Hawks (38-31), breaking a four-game losing streak by the Trail Blazers in Atlanta.

    The Trail Blazers once again did not allow their opponents an easy offensive rhythm tonight. One night after putting together a solid defensive performance against the Bulls, the Trail Blazers followed it up with a solid night against the Hawks. The Trail Blazers well on defense in the first half, holding the Hawks to just 45 points, but they stepped their defense up towards the end of the game and finished off the Hawks.

    "That was a quality road win, against a very good playoff team" Terry Stotts said. "Very pleased with our defense, particularly the second half. But for most of the game I thought, for us to have a back-to-back wins like this Chicago, Atlanta on the road, doing it with some defense and some timely shooting, I'm very proud of my team."

    The Trail Blazers trailed by three early but they just continued to fight. Stotts kept his rotation very short for much of the night for a second straight game. Tonight he gave Will Barton four minutes off the bench but once again, the lionshare of the minutes went to Meyers Leonard and Eric Maynor, along with the starters.

    In the third quarter, the Trail Blazers defense began to slip. But just as the Hawks began to heat up, Wesley Matthews' hot shooting kept the Trail Blazers right with the Hawks in the third quarter. The Hawks scored 31 but Matthews scored 14 points in the third quarter to give them 28 and keep them right with in a run of taking control of the game. Lillard, who finished with 22 points, also began to heat up at the end of the third.

    Despite five assists, Nicolas Batum was quite for most of the night. Through three quarters he had only taken three shots and dished five assists. But, in the fourth quarter, he gave the Trail Blazers lots of energy, winning 50-50 balls, starting fast breaks and hitting shots. Damian Lillard continued his success from his good third quarter, scoring eight points, but Batum was all over the place in the final frame. Batum scored five points, grabbed four rebounds, three steals and added two assists to his total, giving him seven on the night. Batum was the only Trail Blazer to play the fourth quarter's final 12 minutes, but he certainly made his presence felt for every second of the final period.

    Matthews says the team will continue to keep fighting, even though many are counting them out.

    "I'm trying to the same things I've been doing. Things went well for me tonight. We've lost a lot of games that we shouldn't have, and we've won some games that we probably shouldn't have. But we're going to keep on fighting (to make the playoffs) until we're mathematically eliminated."

    The Trail Blazers are off until Sunday when they will play the Oklahoma City Thunder (50-19) at 4PM. That game will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.



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