The Hawks were viciously undermanned in the game, as both Pero Antic and Kyle Korver were ruled out just prior to game time, and although they battled valiantly, it wasn't nearly enough. Atlanta fell behind by 16 points at the half thanks to a 51% shooting clip by the visiting Blazers, and despite a valiant comeback effort in the 3rd that saw the team draw within 6 after a 13-3 run, Portland was able to hold off the Hawks, even by a slimmer margin than some would have expected until the final moments.
After a scoreless night on Thursday, Hawks point guard Jeff Teague had a nice bounceback effort in this one, as he finished with 22 points on 10 for 18 shooting. Teague was visibly aggressive in a way that he didn't flash in Minnesota, and that alone is encouraging. In support of Jeff, Elton Brand put up a monster night with a 11-point, 12-rebound double-double in 29 minutes, and Lou Williams added 16 points (including 13 in the 4th), 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Unfortunately, the Hawks were unable to knock down a decent percentage of their threes in Korver's absence (4-for-22, 18%) and in order to pull the "upset", that wasn't going to fly.
On the Portland side, the full-strength Blazers were just too much, and they were led by their returning superstar, LaMarcus Aldridge. In his first game back in nearly two weeks, the All-Star forward scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and when you couple that with strong play across the perimeter for Portland, the undermanned home team was unable to counteract their charge.
The Hawks will travel to Washington to face the Wizards on Saturday night, and with Atlanta's lead over New York down to just 1.5 games after this defeat, the urgency level is rising by the moment.