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Trail Blazers 104, Hawks 93

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- The Portland Trail Blazers, fighting for their playoff lives, rode the three-point shot late to beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-93 Friday night at Philips Arena.

Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 28 points, including 10 points in the second quarter while cashing in on 5-of-8 3-pointers.

The Blazers (33-36), coming off a big win over the Chicago Bulls Thursday night, jumped out to a quick lead, scoring their first eight points in the paint - four from LaMarcus Aldridge and four from J.J. Hickson.

Aldridge racked up 15 points and six rebounds by halftime, and went on to finish with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Hickson, though, was tagged for a third foul at 10:04 in the second quarter, forcing him to take a seat. He finished with 15 points.

Damian Lillard got hot late in the third quarter, making two of the Blazers' six 3-pointers in the period, finishing with 22 points.

Josh Smith scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Al Horford had seven of his 17 rebounds in the first quarter - 10 in the first half - and scored nine of his 15 points in the first as well. It was his sixth consecutive double-double game, the 10th in his last 11 games.

The Hawks (38-31), fighting for home court in the playoffs, got off to a slow start, lulled into letting the Blazers dictate the tempo. Jeff Teague, who had 21 points and seven assists, scored the Hawks' first five points and seven of their first nine before the team rallied to take a 24-21 lead after the first quarter.

The Hawks were determined to play more aggressively in the second half and they did, racing out to an 11-point lead at 5:26 in the third quarter. But the Blazers, who made only one of seven 3-point shots in the first half, hit nine in the second half.

NOTES: Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts was the Hawks' coach from 2003-04, so he was not the least bit surprised that the Blazers' team bus was stuck in traffic for 55 minutes on the way to the game. When it neared Philips Arena, it was delayed by trains. "I almost stopped at Friedman's to get a pair of shoes," quipped Stotts, referencing the store down the street that all visiting players hit when they're in Atlanta because of its deep selection of sizes. ... All of the Blazers' remaining games are against teams in the playoff hunt. ... Hawks coach Larry Drew adjusted his lineup once again, going with the five starters who secured the 95-87 win over the Blazers on Nov. 12 - Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeShawn Stevenson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Drew has used 24 different starting lineups; this one had a 5-7 record going into the game. ... The beginning of the game was delayed five minutes because of malfunctioning shot clocks.
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