April 20, 2024

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Atlanta Hawks soar to 3rd straight win, claw Portland Trail Blazers, 120-106

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THIRD STRAIGHT. The Atlanta Hawks soar to claim their third consecutive win by eking out a rousing 120-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night (Thursday, March 28, Philippine time). ATLANTA HAWKS PHOTO

The Atlanta Hawks soared to their third consecutive victory as they handed the struggling Portland Trail Blazers their eighth straight loss with a commanding 120-106 win on Wednesday night (Thursday, March 28, Philippine time). 

Dejounte Murray led the charge for the Hawks, putting up a stellar performance with 30 points and seven assists, despite initially being questionable with back soreness.

Murray’s efficiency and leadership on both ends of the floor proved pivotal for the Hawks, who avenged their earlier loss to the Trail Blazers on March 13. Garrison Mathews also stepped up in a big way for Atlanta, knocking down five 3-pointers on his way to a season-high 21 points, leading the Hawks’ bench unit to contribute a notable 41 points.

Bogdan Bogdanovic sank 16 points and five assists, while Clint Capela had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite the Trail Blazers’ efforts, led by a career-high 31-point explosion from Dalano Banton off the bench, and strong performances from Toumani Camara and Scoot Henderson, they couldn’t overcome the Hawks’ relentless pressure.

The Trail Blazers, forced to start five rookies due to a string of injuries throughout their roster, including key players like Deandre Ayton and Jerami Grant, struggled to contain the Hawks’ offensive onslaught and committed 18 turnovers in the game.

Both teams faced significant absences, with the Hawks missing star Trae Young and starters Jalen Johnson and Saddiq Bey due to injuries. However, players like Mathews seized the opportunity for increased playing time and made significant contributions to the team’s success.

The Hawks dominated the first half with tenacious defense, amassing 10 steals, and sharpshooting from beyond the arc, hitting seven of 11 three-pointers in the second quarter to establish a 65-58 lead at halftime.

A blistering 11-0 run by the Hawks early in the third quarter further extended their lead to 76-60, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Trail Blazers. Murray and Bogdanovic spearheaded the surge, ensuring that the Hawks maintained their advantage throughout the remainder of the game.

As the Hawks continue to navigate through injuries and roster challenges, performances like Murray’s and Mathews’ serve as a testament to the team’s resilience and depth. With the victory, the Hawks solidify their position in the Eastern Conference standings while sending a strong message to the rest of the league about their playoff aspirations.

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