The Atlanta Hawks (9-26) hosted the Portland Trail Blazers (19-16) on Saturday night, looking for their third straight home win, one night after a road loss to the Raptors in Toronto. Prior to the loss to Toronto, the Hawks put together back to back wins for the first time this season with a home win over the Mavericks last Saturday and another over the Wizards on Wednesday night.
After struggling with turnovers and allowing the Blazers to have their way in the paint and on the boards in the first half, the Hawks dominated the second half on the both ends of the floor. Dennis Schröder led the way in the second half and finished with 22 points, eight assists and just one turnover. Five other Hawks finished in double figures while Shabazz Napier led the Blazers with 21.
Starting Lineups and Injuries
Hawks Starting Lineup: PG Dennis Schroder, SG Kent Bazemore, SF Taurean Prince, PF Ersan Ilyasova, C Miles Plumlee
Trailblazers Starting Lineup: PG Shabazz Napier, SG C.J. McCollum, SF Evan Turner , PF Al-Farouq Aminu , C Jusuf Nurkic
Dennis Schroder (quad) was listed on the team’s injury report coming into tonight’s game but was able to get the start. The Hawks once again played without starting center Dewayne Dedmon (leg) who missed his 16th consecutive game.
Mike Muscala and DeAndre’ Bembry played for the Hawks’ G-League affiliate Erie BayHawks tonight. Muscala is working his way back from an ankle injury while Bembry is using the playing time to work on his game after recent struggles.
The Blazers’ all-star point guard, Damian Lillard (hamstring), was a game time decision but did not play, missing his fourth consecutive game. Portland also played without reserve forward Noah Vonleh.
1st Quarter (Hawks 24, Blazers 23)
In spite of three early turnovers, the Hawks jumped out to a 12-5 lead getting seven of those points from Ilyasova. The Blazers made just two of their first nine shots before McCollum scored on back-to-back possessions to pull the Blazers within four points at 14-10 mid way through the first quarter.
Atlanta’s shooting then went cold and the Blazers used an 11-3 run to take their first lead of the game at 19-17 with 4:06 left in the opening quarter. During this run, Hawks’ rookie John Collins entered the game and immediately struggled with the size of Nurkic who blocked Collins’ first shot attempt. On the subsequent Blazers’ possession, Nurkic collected an offensive rebound and converted a three point play drawing the foul on Collins.
The Hawks reclaimed the lead on the final possession of the quarter when Tyler Cavanagh’s jump shot gave them a 24-23 advantage. Eight Hawks broke into the scoring column in the quarter led by Ilyasova with eight points. McCollum lead the Blazers with seven. Both teams struggled with turnovers and inconsistent shooting Hawks in the period.
2nd Quarter (Hawks 22, Blazers 29)
The Blazers found their shooting stroke early in the second quarter. After hitting just one of four attempts from the three point line in the first quarter, the Blazers made four of their next six attempts. Those three pointers combined with a flurry of offensive rebounds helped the Blazers build a 39-32 lead prompting Budenholzer to use a timeout with 7:21 left in the quarter.
Budenholzer used another timeout with 2:56 left in the half after Schroder was easily beat on a Napier back-door cut. The resulting layup gave the Blazers a nine point lead at 48-39. After the second timeout, the Hawks were able to get enough stops on the defensive end to cut into the Blazers lead. Cavanaugh again scored the final score of the period pulling the Hawks within six, 52-46 at the half.
The Blazers dominated the first half in the paint (Blazers 24 points in the paint, Hawks 6) and on the boards (Blazers 25, Hawks 20). Napier, fueled by 11 second quarter points led the Blazers with 13 points in the first half. Off the bench, Marco Belinelli led the Hawks with 10.
3rd Quarter (Hawks 26, Blazers 17)
The Blazers opened the second half with five quick points to build an 11-point lead, 57-46. The Hawks responded with a 14-4 run to pull within a point at 61-60. The run was capped by an impressive transition dunk by Bazemore.
The Blazers then scored another quick five points but Schroder personally responded this time with seven consecutive points including a three pointer that gave the Hawks a 67-66 lead with 3:49 left in the period. It was their first lead since the end of the first quarter. This time, Blazers’ coach Terry Stotts called the timeout to get his team reorganized.
The teams traded stops and scores for the final three minutes as the period ended with Hawks leading 72-69. In the third quarter, the Hawks held the Blazers to 7/23 shooting including 1/7 from the three point line. Schroder scored 11 on 4/4 shooting in the period and the Hawks turned the ball over just twice compared to six for the Blazers.
4th Quarter (Hawks 32, Blazers 20)
Cavanaugh’s energy helped the Hawks to a strong start in the final period. He opened the period with a three-pointer then deflected a pass and went to the floor to draw a jump ball on the next Blazers’ possession. After Belinelli hit a jumper to give the Hawks a 77-69 lead with 10:22 to play, Stotts called another timeout.
The Hawks increased the lead to 87-75 with 6:58 left on a three-point play by Collins drawing Nurkic’s fifth foul in the process. Nurkic then fouled out with 4:51 remaing on another Hawk’s three point play, this one from Schroder giving the Hawks their largest lead at 95-80.
A late 8-0 run by the home team effectively iced the game with the Hawks leading 101-83 with 3:33 to play. The Hawks went on to win by the final 15-point margin.
The Hawks now head out for a Western Conference road trip that commences in Phoenix on Tuesday night before moving on to Portland, Los Angeles (2 games, 1 each versus Lakers and Clippers) and then Denver. The Hawks will then return home for six games which will be their longest home-stand of the season.