Crawford has 23 in Hawks’ 90-83 win over BlazersBy ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer Monday, Feb 28, 2011
The Hawks played just their second game with guard Kirk Hinrich(notes), while the Blazers debuted forward Gerald Wallace(notes). Portland also returned center Marcus Camby(notes), who had missed the last 16 games after a knee injury.
“I think we had more energy tonight,” Crawford said. “Our starters set the tone and our bench just picked it up from there. When we get out and we run like we did, we are pretty tough to stop, we get easy baskets. And that’s what we were able to do tonight.”
Andre Miller’s(notes) layup closed the gap further, capping a 16-2 run, but the comeback stalled when Crawford’s 3-pointer put the Hawks up 85-78. Miller’s short jumper with 1:29 left was off, and Crawford hit a pair of free throws that all but sealed it.
Miller led the Blazers with 20 points, while Aldridge had 19.
Hinrich, who had eight points off the bench, was acquired along with Hilton Armstrong(notes) from the Washington Wizards for guards Mike Bibby(notes), Maurice Evans(notes) and Jordan Crawford(notes) before the NBA’s trade deadline this week.
“Kirk is fitting in nice,” Crawford said. “We have to continue to jell and find our rhythm and finish strong in these last 23 games.”
The Blazers introduced Wallace, who was acquired from Charlotte seven minutes before Thursday’s trade deadline in exchange for Portland centers Joel Przybilla(notes) and Sean Marks(notes), forward Dante Cunningham(notes) and two conditional first-round draft picks.
A fan in the crowd held a sign that said “Welcome Crash,” Wallace’s nickname. He received a standing ovation when he came into the game with 4:44 left in the first half. He finished with nine points.
Camby played in his first game since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Jan. 20.
The 6-foot-11, 15-year veteran was the Blazers’ only option at center following the trade with the Bobcats. Portland beat the Denver Nuggets 107-106 on Friday without him, sliding Aldridge to center to make do.
“So it doesn’t surprise me that you’re out of rhythm, you’re out of sync in your first game,” said Blazers coach Nate McMillan. “It’s going to take some time to get a rotation.”
The Blazers got a scare when Aldridge left the game with 1:58 to go in the first quarter and appeared to be limping. The team’s top scorer with 22.5 points per game returned with 5:46 left in the half.
The team reported Aldridge had left knee “discomfort.”
“It feels OK now,” he said afterward.
Atlanta went on an 15-0 run to go up 42-27 with 3:14 left in the first half, while Portland struggled in Aldridge’s temporary absence. The Hawks led by as many as 15 points en route to a 48-36 first-half lead.
Johnson’s turnaround jumper extended the lead to 63-43 with 5:20 left in the third quarter.
“We knew they would make their run—we just had to withstand what we know they were going to do,” Crawford said. “They make runs on everybody, they did the same thing last game against Denver.”
Notes: The Hawks swept the season series against the Blazers 2-0 last season. Atlanta has now won four straight against Portland… Wallace did not wear a headband in his debut with the Blazers. Coach Nate McMillan has in the past said he prefers his players don’t wear them. Afterward he said: “I felt like something was missing.”