Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/13/12
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The first non-sellout Rose Garden crowd in nearly five years home unhappy Monday night. The Atlanta 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 (3-3), which lost 89-76 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday at Staples Center. J.J. Hickson recorded season highs in points (19) and rebounds (18) for Portland (2-5). Nicolas Batum added 19 points and seven rebounds for the losers. The game ended the Blazers' 195-game streak of selling out the 20,500-seat Rose Garden. The run began in December 2007. The Blazers' All-Star forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, struggled through a 4-for-13 shooting night. He had 14 points, six rebounds and a career-high eight assists. However, Aldridge committed five turnovers -- including two in the final minutes -- and missed two free throws with 31 seconds left that would have pulled Portland within two points of Atlanta. 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. Josh 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 42.0 seconds to go. Atlanta got the jump on Portland from the opening tip, shooting 51.2 percent from the field in the first half to carry a 56-47 lead into the locker room. The Hawks had everything going early, jumping to a 9-0 lead. They made eight of their first 11 shots to go in front 20-7 before Portland turned the momentum, drawing to within 28-22 after one quarter. The Blazers had seven turnovers in the period. The Hawks started the second quarter as they did the first, using an 11-2 run to extend their advantage to 39-24 with nine minutes left before halftime. The Blazers came back again, though, climbing within 43-37. Kyle Korver then nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, and suddenly the Hawks were back on top 54-40. 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. Five of the team's first six opponents shot 50 percent or better. ... The Blazers went into the game ranked next to last in bench point differential (minus-28.0 per game, ahead of only Cleveland, which was at minus-32.4). Portland was last in bench scoring at 12.8 points per game. Next to last were the Los Angeles Lakers at 20.9 points per game.
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