NBA: Smith leads Hawks to 95-87 win over Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Josh Smith was sick. It hardly showed. Fighting a stomach illness, Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double against Portland, and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a two-game skid with a 95-87 win over the Trail Blazers on Monday night. "It feels good," Smith said. "The crowd is outstanding (in Portland), and I get geared up for games like this." Kyle Korver added 16 points and Al Horford had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who closed with an 8-0 run. Atlanta was playing the second game of a four-game West Coast swing after losing 89-76 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
"This was a really gutsy win by our guys," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "We fell into a similar situation last night in L.A., where we played well for three quarters and then in the fourth quarter collapsed. Tonight we weathered the storm." J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 18 rebounds, and Nicolas Batum scored 19 points to lead Portland, which dropped its fourth straight. Wesley Matthews had 17 points and made all 10 of his free throws. Trail Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting. He added eight assists, but had just seven points in the first three quarters. Portland's run of 195 consecutive home sellouts ended, team president and CEO Chris McGowan announced before the game. The streak dated back to Dec. 21, 2007. Portland's bench, outscored 63-4 in a loss to San Antonio on Saturday, struggled again. The Hawks had a 26-6 advantage from their reserves. The Hawks didn't show any noticeable effects from playing back-to-back games until midway through the fourth quarter, when the Blazers went on a 15-2 run to go up 82-80 with 5:40 remaining. The game was tied at 87 with 2:38 left, but Horford made a hook shot, Jeff Teague scored on a driving layup and Korver hit two free throws as the Hawks pulled away. "We knew they were going to go on a run, but it just shows you how this team is a veteran team," Smith said. "We didn't get rattled, we took our time even when they took the lead, and we figured out a way to score the basketball down the stretch." Smith and Lou Williams were sent back to the team hotel earlier in the day because they were feeling ill, but both opted to play. Williams finished with 11 points off the bench. Smith hit four of his first five shots as the Hawks jumped out to a 22-9 lead. Portland whittled the advantage down to 28-24, but Atlanta built up another large lead when the Blazers subbed in the likes of Sasha Pavlovic, Will Barton and Ronnie Price. Devin Harris scored to put Atlanta back up 41-26 halfway through the second quarter. After the Blazers' first team came back in, they cut into the advantage again and trailed 56-47 at halftime. Batum led a small comeback, scoring 11 points in the third quarter as Portland got within 68-63, but the Hawks kept the lead until deep into the final period. "We keep putting ourselves in holes," Matthews said. "We can't keep doing that to ourselves." NOTES: Bailey Leonard, brother of Portland rookie Meyers Leonard and a war veteran, was honored before the game along with other military veterans. ... Atlanta C Johan Petro sat out for the sixth straight game with a lower back injury. ... The Hawks round out their trip with Golden State on Wednesday and Sacramento on Saturday. © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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