Trail Blazers drub Millsap-less Hawks


Can missing Paul Millsap possibly mean that much?

The Hawks played without their All-Star power forward and were drubbed from the start by the Trail Blazers in a 113-97 loss Saturday at Philips Arena. Millsap was a late scratch after experiencing tightness in his left knee during his pregame warm-up.

The Trail Blazers led by as many as 23 points in the torrid-shooting opening quarter. They started the game on a 23-5 run as the Hawks were clearly caught off-guard. The Hawks trailed by double digits less than four minutes into the game. The deficit reached 20 points with three minutes remaining in the period.

The Hawks (37-32) have lost three consecutive. They had a five-game win streak over the Blazers snapped in a big way.

Ersan Ilyasova started in place of Millsap and led the Hawks with 23 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 22 points, and Dwight Howard had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Howard became the first Hawks player to have 800 rebounds in a season since Dikembe Mutombo in 1999-2000.

The Trail Blazers (31-37) have won two consecutive and avenged an overtime loss at home to the Hawks earlier this season.

Damian Lillard led five Trail Blazers, including all five starters, in double-figures scoring. He finished with a game-high 27 points. His backcourt mate C.J. McCollum scored 22 points.

The Trail Blazers made 11 of their first 12 shots as the Hawks struggled to make only two of their first 13 shots. In the opening quarter, the Trail Blazers shot 76.2 percent, and the Hawks shot 16 percent. The Trail Blazers took a 40-18 advantage after the first quarter. Lillard scored 13 points including nine of his team’s first 11 points.

The Hawks opened the second quarter with 14-4 run and closed to within 12 points, at 44-32. However, the Trail Blazers answered with a 13-4 run to regain a comfortable lead and took a 63-46 lead into halftime.

Slowing Lillard has been a priority of the Hawks. The point guard has been held to less than 20 points in five of his eight career games against the Hawks. Lillard entered the game with a 26.5 points per game average. He had 13 points minutes into the game, including a four-point play.

“Obviously we put a ton of time and effort and energy in preparing for him,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Lillard before the game. “He’s a focal point. Now McCollum has emerged as that secondary scorer and ballhandler. We’ve always said that our bigs, this year included, and their ability to play pick-and-roll defense really has helped us be a solid defensive team. He is obviously in a ton of pick-and-rolls.”

The Hawks got as close as 12 points in the third quarter and trailed 85-73 headed into the fourth quarter. They got as close as 11 points early in the fourth quarter, but that was it. No closer.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Hawks

Hawks’ Prince on his inconsistent play: ‘There are certain things I’ve got to tune out’ 
Hawks’ Prince on his inconsistent play: ‘There are certain things I’ve got to tune out’ 
The box-score numbers say Hawks forward Taurean Prince has been inconsistent in his second pro season. There will be a game or two or three when Prince does it all — scoring efficiently, collecting rebounds and steals, handing out assists — followed by a stretch where he provides little positive box-score stats at all.  Here&rsquo...
Watch: Meet new Hawks guard Antonius Cleveland
Watch: Meet new Hawks guard Antonius Cleveland

The Hawks signed Antonius Cleveland to a 10-day contract on Thursday. He met with the media after the announcement.
Next step for Hawks rookie Collins: ‘Shoot the damn ball’ for three 
Next step for Hawks rookie Collins: ‘Shoot the damn ball’ for three 
Hawks rookie John Collins has attempted just 19 3-point shots in the NBA. That’s not nearly enough to determine if he can be a good 3-point shooter.  But he’s attempted 15 of those 3-pointers over his past 21 games, making six, after he’d missed four attempts over his previous 32 games. Collins said that’s enough makes...
Watch: I talk Hawks on Fox Sports Southeast
Watch: I talk Hawks on Fox Sports Southeast
Today I joined Mike Conti of 92.9 The Game and Fox Sports South writer Zach Dillard. (If you watch, please keep in mind there’s a reason I’m a writer and not a talker.) <div></div><br><div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id))...
As some teams tank, Budenholzer says Hawks will stay the course
As some teams tank, Budenholzer says Hawks will stay the course

For the first practice after the All-Star break, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he added a “wrinkle here or a new play there” but doesn’t anticipate making any “drastic changes” to the way his team plays over its final 23 games. That includes how he distributes playing time among his veteran and young players. ...
More Stories