NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 15th (All times eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (41-24) at Atlanta Hawks (38-28), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Portland Trail Blazers take their push to win the NBA's Northwest Division to the deep south on Sunday when they open a key five-game road trip against the streaking Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
The Blazers, who are tied atop the Northwest with the Denver Nuggets and just one- half game in front of Utah, finished a four-game homestand on a positive note Friday when Brandon Roy, despite shooting 0-for-6 from the field in the first half, finished with a game-high 31 points to lead Portland past the Nets, 109-100, at the Rose Garden.
Nicolas Batum recorded a career-high 20 points for Portland, which has won six of its last eight games. LaMarcus Aldridge totaled 19 points and 10 rebounds while Steve Blake chipped in 15 points and five assists in the win.
Batum, who briefly left the game against the Nets with a shoulder injury, should be a go for this afternoon's game. Fellow rookie Rudy Fernandez, who has sat out the last two games with a bruised chest and a hip pointer, is questionable for today's game. Meanwhile, the Blazers continue to play without oft-injured center Greg Oden, who has missed 13 straight games with a balky knee.
The Blazers have been dominant at home, winning 13 of their last 14 games as the host and compiling a 28-6 record at the Rose Garden. The road has been a different story, however. Portland, which will also face Memphis, Indiana, Cleveland and Milwaukee on its trek, is just 13-18 as the visitor on the year.
The streaking Hawks, meanwhile, improved to 4-0 on a seven-game homestand Friday after Joe Johnson led all scorers with 30 points as Atlanta topped Indiana, 101-87, at Philips Arena.
Al Horford notched a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Hawks, who have a 1 1/2 game edge over Miami for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Maurice Evans poured in 15 points and Mike Bibby added 13 with six assists.
The Hawks, who are 24-7 in Atlanta, will finish their residency with games against Sacramento and Dallas.
The Blazers have won four straight over Atlanta, including a 108-98 win in Portland on February 20.
03/15 10:33:57 ET