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Blazers' sellout streak ends during loss to Hawks

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Atlanta Hawks made sure the first non-sellout Rose Garden crowd in nearly five years went home unhappy Monday night.

The Hawks withstood a fourth-quarter Portland rally to beat the Trail Blazers 95-87.

Josh Smith collected 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Atlanta, which lost 89-76 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday at Staples Center.

The Blazers rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to take the lead midway through the final quarter, but Atlanta closed the game on a 10-0 run to win going away.

Portland failed to score after LaMarcus Aldridge's free throw gave the Blazers an 87-85 lead with 2:50 remaining.

"A gutsy win by our guys," Atlanta coach Larry Drew said. "We fell into a similar situation (Sunday) night in L.A., where we collapsed in the fourth quarter. Tonight we weathered the storm."

The game ended the Blazers' 195-game streak of selling out the 20,500-seat Rose Garden. The run began in December 2007.

The Hawks (3-3) had five players score in double figures, including Kyle Korver, who had 16. Korver shot 5-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range.

"We knew they were going to go on a run," Smith said, "but it just shows you how this team is a veteran team. We didn't get rattled."

J.J. Hickson had season highs in points (19) and rebounds (18) for Portland, which got 19 points and seven rebounds from Nicolas Batum.

The Hawks held the Blazers (2-5) to 36.1 percent shooting. Atlanta also forced 20 turnovers, which led to a 26-10 advantage in fast-break points.

Aldridge struggled through a 4-for-13 shooting night, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds and a career-high eight assists. He also committed five turnovers -- including two in the final minutes -- and missed two free throws with 36 seconds left that would have pulled Portland within two points of Atlanta.

"I have to make those free throws," Aldridge said. "Can't go back in time, but they felt great leaving my hand, both of them."

The Blazers trimmed what was a 14-point deficit early in the third quarter to 69-65 late in the period with Batum leading the way. The small forward scored 11 points in the quarter, and Portland trailed 75-67 going into the final period.

Portland whittled away at the Atlanta lead, drawing even at 80-80 on Hickson's three-point play and going ahead 82-80 on a pair of Aldridge free throws with 5:40 remaining.

Smith responded with a three-point play to push Atlanta back in front 83-82 with 5:08 left. The lead went back and forth for the next three minutes before the Hawks scored six straight to go on top 91-87 with 42 seconds to go.

Portland's Damian Lillard had a rough night. The rookie point guard scored 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting, compiling two assists and four turnovers.

"I got some good looks," Lillard said. "I probably got too deep on a couple of my drives and got myself in bad position. My shots just didn't fall."

Portland has list four consecutive games, though it was in position to win down the stretch in each of them.

"We're getting better," Lillard said. "A lot of people probably don't see it, but every game we get a little bit closer. Once we get to the point where we don't put ourselves in a hole to start with, that's when we'll start winning games."

NOTES: Hickson secured his fourth double-double of the season by early in the third quarter. ... Several players, including Josh Smith of Atlanta and LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland, wore red, white and blue headbands in a tribute to Veteran's Day. ... Bailey Leonard, older brother of Blazers rookie Meyers Leonard, was at the game night as part of the Veteran's Day celebration. Bailey Leonard recently retired as a Marine after two tours of duty in Afghanistan. ... The Blazers and Hawks went into Monday night having played 100 times in their history -- and having split the games 50-50. ... Portland entered the game last in the NBA in opponents' field-goal percentage at 50.7 percent, but the Blazers held the Hawks to 44.3 percent shooting.

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