Hawks > Portland Falls as Run goes to 18 Straight

| January 31, 2015

Trail Blazers Hawks Basketball

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks keep finding new ways to extend the longest winning streak in franchise history. This time, Kent Bazemore was the surprise star off the bench.

Atlanta overcame 37 points by Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge to win its 18th straight game by overpowering the Trail Blazers in the final period for a 105-99 victory Friday night.

The big lead for each team was only six points. There were four ties in the fourth quarter before the Hawks took the lead for good midway through the period on a basket by Al Horford, who had 17 points.

Flying High Into the All-Star Break
The Hawks are the fifth team in NBA history to win at least 18 straight before the All-Star break. Three of the four previous teams won the NBA championship.

“We got stops when we needed to and really got into a rhythm offensively,” Horford said.

The Hawks overcame a sudden shortage of wing players to keep their streak alive before a sellout crowd.

Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll missed the game with a left Achilles strain. His replacement, Thabo Sefolosha, lasted only two minutes before leaving with a right calf strain.

The Hawks’ depth came through again. Bazemore, the team’s third option at small forward, didn’t miss a beat. Bazemore made his first three shots and finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

Bazemore, who usually plays about 12 minutes per game, logged almost 40 minutes.

“With Thabo going down and DeMarre already hurt,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said, “for Kent Bazemore to come in and play the way he did and play as many minutes as he did … it was just a team effort, everybody contributing.”

Another bench player, Mike Scott, added 11 points.

“We’re confident in one through 15 here,” Horford said. “Guys really put in the time, guys work every day. They just don’t get the opportunity because we’re so deep.”

Portland, which has lost four of five, led after each of the first three quarters but was outscored 36-25 in the final period.

“If I could explain it then it wouldn’t happen,” said Aldridge of the fourth-quarter letdown. “It’s part of the season. We just have to stick with it.”

The Hawks have not lost in 2015. The winning streak began after a loss to Milwaukee on Dec. 26.

“They’re good,” Aldridge said of the Hawks. “We could have played better, but they’re good.

“Defensively, they’re definitely better than what people think.”

Paul Millsap scored 21 points to lead six Atlanta scorers in double figures.


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