The Hawks came within two points with less than a minute to go,
but the Blazers hung on for an 89-66 win Tuesday night.
Rasheed Wallace had 24 points and nine rebounds for Portland,
which narrowly avoided just its second three-game losing streak
"We obviously need to get better at the end of games,''
Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "I think we can get better in
every area, but we really need to do better in execution down the
The Hawks have lost seven of their last nine and are just 5-24
this season on the road. Glenn Robinson led them with 24 points.
Atlanta closed to within 86-83 with 59.3 seconds left. Theo
Ratliff, fouled by Zach Randolph, missed his first free throw, but
made his second to put it at 86-84.
After Wallace was fouled with 10.7 seconds left and made one of
two shots, Scottie Pippen made a pair of free throws with 3.8
seconds to go for the final margin.
"We put ourselves in a position to win,'' Robinson said. "So
we've just got to learn how to convert those.''
The Hawks tied it at 66 early in the fourth quarter on Jason
Terry's driving dunk. But Pippen scored quickly, then fed the ball
to Wallace for a layup as the Blazers moved back in front.
"I think we're all happy we won the game,'' Pippen said.
"We're not particularly happy with the way we played.''
Portland center Dale Davis missed the game because of an upper
respiratory infection. Arvydas Sabonis started in his place and
earned a hearty round of applause after putting in 10 minutes in
the first quarter.
The 7-foot-3 Lithuanian took last season off to spend time with
his family and has been used judiciously this season by coach
Davis, averaging 7.4 points and 7.5 rebounds, also was expected
to miss Wednesday night's game in Denver.
The Blazers jumped to an early 21-9 lead on Sabonis' reverse
layup and foul shot and the Hawks spent the rest of the first half
trying to catch up.
Atlanta narrowed the margin to 37-32 in the first half, but
Portland wouldn't let the Hawks get any closer and led 48-40 at the
The Hawks narrowed it to 58-56 in the third quarter on
Robinson's 3-pointer and follow-up fast-break layup.
The Blazers struggled with their shooting in the half and
Pippen, who had success controlling Terry, was handed his fourth
Portland was coming off a pair of tough losses to the Bucks and
the Lakers. Portland led Milwaukee on Saturday until the final 1:44
for a 93-90 loss, while the Lakers outscored the Blazers 12-4 over
the final 3:24 to win 92-84.
"We're all a little disturbed we're not playing as well as we
played before the All-Star break,'' Pippen said.
The last time these teams met, it was a hard-fought
112-110 double-overtime victory for Portland at Philips Arena on
Jan. 22. ... Atlanta's Nzar Mohammed, the team's second-leading
scorer off the bench, was questionable with a right foot injury,
but played. ... Pippen needs 35 steals to pass coach Cheeks for
third on the NBA's career list with 2,310. ... Davis was not the
only Blazer who wasn't feeling well. Randolph also said he was