----- Damian Lillard scored a game-high 36 points as the Portland Trail Blazers hammered the Atlanta Hawks 118-98 Friday night at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA.
Friday night was the "Damian Lillard Show" in Atlanta.
Lillard scored a game-high 36 points and dished out seven assists as the Portland Trail Blazers hammered the Atlanta Hawks 118-98. The win gave Portland (48-27) a season-high six-game winning streak and a half-game lead on the Houston Rockets for third place in the Western Conference playoff standings.
Just like we saw in Wednesday's win over the Chicago Bulls, Lillard had plenty of help. Al-Farouq Aminu recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Enes Kanter added 14 points and eight rebounds in place of Jusuf Nurkic in the starting lineup.
Seth Curry added 12 points off the bench connecting on 2-for-4 from three-point range and Zach Collins gave the team a burst of energy with nine points and nine rebounds.
The Blazers played a very efficient game with just nine turnovers and committed just nine personal fouls. Portland connected on 46.9% of their shots and dominated the glass with a 55-41 edge in rebounding.
The Blazers were aggressive leaning on their defense. Atlanta (27-49) entered the night averaging 120.4 points per game in March, but were held to 98 points on just 40.4% shooting including 9-for-38 from three-point range.
"Atlanta had been on a roll scoring 120 points per game or something since the All Star break," Terry Stotts said. "Holding them under 100 points I think speaks to our defense."
With the win, the Blazers are now 9-3 on the road since the All-Star break.
Up Next- The Trail Blazers will play the second of a back-to-back tomorrow night in Detroit against the Pistons. The game is scheduled to tip off at 4:00 PM.
Chad's Take- The best thing I have seen since the season-ending injury to Jusuf Nurkic is balance. Lillard was superb with 36 points and seven assists, but once again he had help. Enes Kanter looks comfortable starting at center in place of Nurkic. He had 14 points and eight rebounds against the Hawks. He is still learning all of the offensive sets, but you can see the progress with Kanter from game to game.
Al-Farouq Aminu has been solid on the road trip and Seth Curry continues to be a shot-maker off the bench. Keep an eye on Zach Collins. We know he plays with energy, but he is getting better with more minutes. Nine points and nine rebounds for Collins in Atlanta. His length and ability to move on the defensive end is going to be crucial for the team moving forward. I really like how he is playing right now.