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Atlanta Buries Blazers Early, Holds on Late

Posted By Brandon Marcus On Feb 28 2011 @ 1:57 am In Portland Trail Blazers | No Comments

The Blazers followed their rousing victory over Denver with a ragged home court loss to Atlanta Sunday night. Portland is prone to games like this, where they just can’t buy a bucket, and they fell behind by as much as 23 in the third quarter.┬áThe finally turn on the jets in the fourth to mount a furious comeback, but three quarters of miserable basketball dug them an insurmountable hole.

An Andre Miller bucket sliced the lead to just six with under two minutes left at 82-76. With the crowd abuzz, Jamal Crawford drained a three with just a second left on the shot clock to push the lead back to nine, all but securing the 90-83 victory for Atlanta (36-23) .

The game was tied at 27 in the second quarter, but the Blazers would miss 9 consecutive shots over five minutes during a 15-0 run by Atlanta. Trailing by twelve at half, the Blazers buried themselves with a listless, sloppy 13-point third quarter. Portland was plagued by ill-advised, nonchalant passes, committing six turnovers in the third which created several fast break buckets for the Hawks. Portland scored just 7 points in the first 8 minutes of the quarter, and mustered just three total field goals in the decisive third frame.

They had just 49 points through three and were a ghastly 20 of 61 from the floor.

Forced the leave the game briefly in the middle of the first, LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t much of a factor, going nearly three full quarters without a bucket before the Blazers late rally.

Zaza Pachulia scored just 2 points, but his impact was felt on the boards, out-hustling the Blazers for most of the game. He pulled down 12 rebounds, including six offensive and set up Jamal Crawford for two of his four threes. Crawford had 23 for Atlanta and was clutch in the fourth, helping Atlanta hold off the Blazers frantic comeback.

Gerald Wallace was unspectacular in his debut, but so was the rest of his new team in this one. Wallace finished with nine points on 4 of 12 shooting, but received a nice ovation upon entering the game for the first time. Andre Miller was the best player for the Blazers, scoring 20 points on 9-17 shooting.

The Blazers don’t have much time to incorporate Wallace and reincorporate Roy and Camby into the lineup with competition as tight as it is for the final playoff positions. The challenge for Nate McMillan will be to get his rotations established quickly with only 23 games left and Portland must face a hot Rockets team coming in on Tuesday Night.

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