Matthews leads Blazers past Hawks
Atlanta, GA – Wesley Matthews scored a game-high 28 points and connected on 5-of-8 from 3-point range, as the Portland Trail Blazers ended a four-game skid in Atlanta with a 104-93 win over the Hawks on Friday.
Damian Lillard had 22 points and was also hot from beyond the arc, making 4- of-5 shots, for the Trail Blazers, who have won two straight -- both on the road -- despite having dropped 14 of their last 17 as the visitors.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson supplied 15 and 10 rebounds in the victory.
"That was a quality road win against a very good playoff team," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "Very pleased with our defense, particularly in the second half and for most of the game. For us to have back-to-back wins like this, at Chicago and Atlanta on the road, to do it with some defense, and some timely shooting, I'm very proud of my team."
Josh Smith poured in 24 points to go along with 10 boards and four assists for the Hawks, who have dropped two of three. Jeff Teague and Al Horford scored 15 and 21 points, respectively in defeat, while Horford also pulled down 17 rebounds.
Smith put the hosts up 11 with a slam around the midway point of the third quarter, but Lillard's triple with one minute left in the stanza made it a two-point contest.
Trailing 76-73 to enter the fourth quarter, Portland opened up the action with a critical 9-2 spurt to take a 82-78 edge with 9:29 to play. Smith helped the home team answer twice to cut the deficit to one, then Teague did the same with just under five minutes to play to make it a 90-89 lead for the Blazers.
Portland, however, had just enough left in the tank to outscore the Hawks 9-0 over the next two-plus minutes as Aldridge split a pair from the charity stripe to make it 98-89 with two minutes to play.
The damage had been done, as Atlanta never got closer than seven points the rest of the contest. Portland pulled away in the final quarter thanks to some balance, as four players had five or more points to outscore the hosts 31-17 to secure the victory.
"We had the lead a couple times, and then we let them get back in the ball game," Smith said of the issues in the fourth quarter. "With careless turnovers and not limiting them to one shot. They had a play that was going and they stuck with it. I guess we couldn't stop it. That was pretty much it."
Atlanta took a 24-21 lead after one quarter, but Portland returned the favor, outscoring the hosts 24-21 in the second quarter to tie the contest 45-45 at the break.
Atlanta is 22-13 at home this season ... Portland is 11-25 on the road ... Aldridge has now scored at least 20 points in seven straight games ... Portland's last win in Atlanta came in January of 2008 ... It was Horford's 40th double-double.