Basketball

Hawks take down Blazers in OT

ATLANTA - Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks think they can beat anyone right now, even the NBA's top teams.

Johnson scored eight of his 35 points in overtime and the Hawks solved Portland’s defense in time to beat the Trail Blazers, 99-95, on Monday night.

The Hawks, who won at Portland on Nov. 3, swept the season series for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

Josh Smith had 20 points and 16 rebounds for Atlanta, which extended its winning streak to five with the victory in the matchup of division leaders. The Hawks’ streak also includes a win at Boston.

“The last two years being in the playoffs has put this team in a totally different light,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “Now when they go on the court, they know they have a chance to win. … It’s kind of nice sitting on the top of the division.”

The Hawks (9-2) snapped Portland’s six-game winning streak by rallying from deficits of 12 points in the third quarter and nine points, 67-58, at the start of the fourth.

“We were able to fight them off,” Smith said. “Maybe three or four years ago we wouldn’t have gotten the win.”

Rudy Fernandez led Portland with 19 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime.

“The play was for me for the last shot and I made it,” said Fernandez, who added two more 3s in overtime.

Portland (8-4) had won four straight road games, holding each opponent under 85 points.

  Comments