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Blazers try to end losing streak against Hawks
(Sports Network) - A monster effort by LaMarcus Aldridge failed to earn the Portland Trail Blazers a victory last time out.
The former second overall pick will try to salvage the finale of a three-game homestand for his struggling club on Monday night in a meeting with the Atlanta Hawks, who continue their swing out west by playing for a second straight night.
Aldridge tore up the box score with 29 points, a career high-tying seven assists, four rebounds and four blocks on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs, but that effort -- as well as a 33 points by Nicolas Batum to match a career best -- still wasn't enough in a 112-109 defeat.
"(The Spurs) made tough shots tonight," said Aldridge, whose Trail Blazers lost their third straight and for the first time in eight home meetings with San Antonio.
Portland led by as much as 14 in the third quarter, but saw its bench get outscored by San Antonio's reserves by a lopsided 63-4.
"Even with all of that, we still had a chance to win. So we can't buy into that," Aldridge noted of the bench production. "We have to do what we do better. We had a chance to win tonight."
Aldridge, taken second overall in the 2006 draft, became just the fifth player since the 2006-07 season to notch at least 29 points, seven assists and four blocks in a game and the first Trail Blazer to do so since Clyde Drexler on March 8, 1988.
In 12 career games versus the Hawks, Aldridge has tallied 18.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. That includes 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in a 97-77 home win over Atlanta on Feb. 18 of last season, one that snapped a six-game series losing streak.
Portland is primed to make it two in a row over Atlanta, which is coming off Sunday's 89-76 setback to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Josh Smith had 13 points and six rebounds, while Al Horford tallied 11 points and nine boards in Atlanta's second loss in a row. The Hawks turned the ball over 22 times and were just 7-of-16 from the free throw line.
"We had too many turnovers and couldn't hit free throws," Atlanta head coach Larry Drew said.
Smith has been one of the main culprits. He missed all four of his free throw shots on Sunday and is just 2-for-14 from the line this season.
11/12 10:53:58 ET
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