Final - OT
  for this game

Outlaw lifts Blazers over Hawks in overtime

Jan 21, 2008 - 11:56 PM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Travis Outlaw helped the Portland Trail Blazers avoid their first two-game losing streak in a more than a month.

Outlaw scored 23 points, including the game-winner in the extra period, and Brandon Roy poured in 18 to lead the Trail Blazers to a 111-109 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday afternoon.

Sergio Rodriguez added a season-high 16 points and James Jones added 10 for Portland, which has won six straight in Atlanta, dating back to January 8, 2002.

"We felt like we were still going to win this game the whole way through," Roy said. "At the end of the day, we found a way to win."

Outlaw broke a 109-109 tie with a long straightaway jumper from just inside the arc over Atlanta forward Josh Smith with nine-tenths of a second remaining to give Portland a lead it would not relinquish.

"I was starting to go to the rim to get fouled," Outlaw said. "He stepped back off me a little bit. It felt good when I shot it. I've been on the whole game. I felt good about it."

"I wanted him to shoot the jump shot instead of driving to the hole," Smith said. "He knocked it down with a great shot."

Atlanta expected that second-year sensation Roy would take the final shot. But Blazers coach Nate McMillan drew up the play for the fourth-year forward Outlaw instead.

"(McMillan) asked me if I wanted it," Outlaw said. "I said, 'Yeah.' It was nice for him to call my number."

"He did a nice job of executing on the play," McMillan said. "Taking the clock down to the final second and not giving them enough time to get anything clean off on the other end."

The tally capped a sensational extra session for the 6-9 Outlaw, who posted six of the Blazers' nine points in the extra session.

"Brandon was a little fatigued today," McMillan said. "We just needed to go to another option today, and Travis was that option. He did a nice job each time we gave him the ball, and he finished it for us as the end."

Joe Johnson fired an errant 3-pointer as time expired in overtime for the Hawks, who have lost three straight games.

"It was a good look," Johnson said. "I rushed it a little more than I should have."

The Blazers, who avoided their first two-game losing streak since the club dropped four in a row from November 26-December 2, used 62 points from their bench to defeat the Hawks for the 15th time in their last 18 meetings.

"I come to expect that from (the bench)," Roy said. "We're a total team. We have a deep team. As long as we play that way, we're tough to beat sometimes."

Roy erased a two-point deficit in the extra session with a putback bucket to tie the contest at 107-107 with 2:10 remaining before Johnson missed on the other end.

Outlaw connected on both free throws to give the Blazers a two-point lead before Marvin Williams drained both free throws with 19 seconds remaining to knot the contest at 109-109.

Portland led by six on Roy's bucket with 2:49 remaining before Atlanta closed the gap by scoring six of the final eight points in regulation.

Smith and Johnson connected on eight free throws sandwiched around a bucket by Roy to tie the contest at 100-100. But Johnson also missed a long jumper at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Portland, which trailed by as many as 11 in the first quarter, closed the gap with a solid second quarter from its reserves.

Powered by eight points apiece from Outlaw and Rodriguez, the Trail Blazers outscored the Hawks, 36-23, in the period to take a 54-50 lead at the break.

The bench was particularly strong for Portland in the second, scoring 27 of the club's 36 points.

"Their bench was the difference tonight," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We talked about that coming into the game. Their bench is as good as their starting unit."

Atlanta, which lost for just the third time in its last nine home games, will spend the next five contests away from home while Philips Arena serves as host for the NHL All-Star Game.

The playoff-challenged Hawks, who are just 5-11 on the road this season, leave town one-half game ahead of New Jersey and Indiana for the seventh spot in the weak Eastern Conference.

"It's a tough loss," Woodson said. "We have to go out to the West Coast and figure some things out."

Johnson scored 37 points and reserve Tyronn Lue added 18 for Atlanta (17-20), which fell three games under the .500 mark for the first time since December 4.

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