for this game

Roy, Blazers steal one from Hawks

Jan 28, 2008 - 4:03 AM By Kasey Postlewaite PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) - The Portland Trail Blazers rarely led Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks but Brandon Roy put them in front when it counted.

Roy keyed a late spurt with both his offense and defense and the Trail Blazers rallied from as many as 19 down to post a 94-93 victory over the Hawks.

Portland had lost two straight coming in and Roy was not about to let the skid get to three. He scored 11 points in the final six minutes and made play after play on both ends of the floor as Portland closed out the game on a 16-4 run.

"I saw how some of the guys were down and tired," Roy said. "I said 'look you guys, just follow my lead, I'm going to step up."

A driving layup by Roy pulled the Blazers within 93-91 with 1:13 to play. He was able to get to the hoop again for a layup with 33 seconds to go, tying the game for the first time all night, 93-93.

"I said that I was just going to try to start getting to the basket," Roy said. "The last time we played them I settled for some jumpers, but I was like 'I can get to the cup against these guys.'

Once Channing (Frye) started making plays out of that pick-and-roll, it forced them to play me straight up."

Joe Johnson tried to go one-on-one against Roy on Atlanta's next possession but could not find an opening. Roy forced Johnson to shoot an airball from near the top of the key and the Blazers got the ball back on a shot-clock violation.

"I was guarding him and kinda poked the ball away," Roy added. "He got it back with like two seconds so I said I'm just going to jump at the ball. Regardless, he can't pump fake. I don't know if I got a piece or not. All I was trying to do is make him make one over the top."

"He's not one dimensional at all," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "He does it all. He can run the point, pass the ball around, plays defense, but he can put it in the hole when he wants. That was a big lay-up to tie the game."

The Blazers again called on Roy and he was fouled trying to drive with 2.3 seconds to play. He made the second of two free throws to give Portland a 94-93 lead, their first since a 6-5 edge in the first quarter.

"It should have never of come to that particular play," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We just didn't handle our business tonight coming down the stretch."

After a timeout, Atlanta inbounded from half-court and went to Johnson but he airballed a 3-pointer from the left wing and the Blazers escaped with the win.

"I got the ball and then I see two or three guys trying to block my shot, that's it" Johnson said. "Tonight we started playing timid. We stopped being aggressive and on the defensive end we couldn't get no stops."

After running out of gas in the fourth quarter against Houston on Friday, the Blazers came out surprisingly flat-footed. Easy transition baskets and second chance opportunities enabled the Hawks to double-up Portland early and take a 22-11 lead.

Johnson's eight points set the tone as Atlanta wound up shooting 62 percent (13-of-21) and led 29-19 after the first quarter.

In the second, Portland got it going briefly when reserve Sergio Rodriquez checked in. The second-year guard from Spain registered four points and three assists in his first three minutes as Portland pulled within 32-26.

Atlanta answered the call with an 18-6 run, taking their biggest first half lead, 52-34, when Johnson converted a lay-up and free-throw with 17 seconds on the clock. Roy's three-point play ended the half with the Hawks up 52-37.

"We didn't have any life at all in the first half and I told the team at halftime that everybody had to contribute something to get us back in it," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.

It was more of the same starting off the second half. Al Horford's jumper pushed the lead to 56-37 and both teams played virtually even until Travis Outlaw's three-pointer and Channing Frye's jumper ended the quarter, cutting the lead to 73-63.

It wasn't until Outlaw nailed two more three-pointers in the fourth that Portland felt energized. His second at the 7:55 mark made it 75-83 and after a Marvin Williams jumper, Roy converted a driving lay-up and free-throw, making it 85-78.

Outlaw scored eight fourth quarter points in route to 15 overall.

"Travis Outlaw has blossomed," Smith said. He's extremely unique. All of his hard work is paying off and you can tell by his play this year."

Johnson scored 19 and both Williams and Smith tallied 17 for Atlanta, who fell to 1-1 on their four-game road trip.