Saturday, May 30, 2009
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ATLANTA - As the final seconds in overtime expired, it became clear that both the Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers were content to allow Travis Outlaw to take the last shot.That was all he needed to know.Outlaw took advantage of the opportunity, sinking a 20-foot jumper with 1 second left in overtime to lift the Trail Blazers to a 111-109 victory over the Hawks on Monday.Outlaw, who led Portland with 23 points, said coach Nate McMillan asked if he wanted the shot.'I was like, 'Yeah,' said Outlaw, grinning. 'It was nice for him to call my number. It felt good when I shot it. I'd been on it kind of the whole game so I felt good about it.'The Hawks, who expected Outlaw to pass to Brandon Roy, did not give Josh Smith extra defensive help on Outlaw.Outlaw held the ball outside the 3-point line until under 5 seconds remained. Then he took a couple of dribbles inside the circle before pulling up and shooting over Smith.McMillan said he made the call for the hot shooter. Outlaw made 9 of 14 shots. Roy, who had 18 points, was 8-for-22.McMillan said Outlaw had 'perfect execution' on the shot.'He got his rhythm and shot the jump shot,' McMillan said. 'And he nailed it. Just another big shot.'The Hawks gave Outlaw credit for making the long shot their defense was designed to force.'It was a contested shot,' Smith said. 'I wanted him to shoot a jump shot instead of driving, and he knocked it down. It was just a tough shot.'The Hawks called a timeout with 0.9 seconds left. Joe Johnson, who scored 37 points, missed a shot at the buzzer.Portland's reserves - led by Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez, who had 16 points, and James Jones, who had 10 - outscored Atlanta's reserves 62-30.'Their bench outplayed our starting five, if you ask me,' Johnson said. 'They've got a good team.'The Hawks trailed 96-89 with 3:50 left in regulation but came back at the free-throw line. The Hawks scored 11 straight points on free throws to pull even at 100 with 31.9 seconds left. Johnson made the Hawks' last six free throws in the rally.After a Portland timeout, Roy dribbled almost 20 seconds off the clock before missing a driving layup against Johnson. Al Horford grabbed the rebound for Atlanta, which called a timeout with 11.2 seconds left to set up a last shot, but a miss by Johnson led to overtime.Outlaw scored the first four points of overtime on a hook and a jumper, but Smith helped keep Atlanta close. Smith's steal and assist set up a basket by Johnson, and Smith added another assist to set up a jam by Marvin Williams that left the teams tied at 107.Following two free throws by Outlaw, the Hawks missed four shots but created another possession when Smith stole the ball from Outlaw.Williams, fouled by LaMarcus Aldridge, made two free throws for another tie at 109 with 19 seconds left.Tyronn Lue had 18 points while making each of his four 3-pointers. Smith had 17 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Williams and Josh Childress each added 11.Portland improved to 3-3 on its seven-game trip through the Eastern Conference.The Hawks, who have lost three straight, head west for five straight road games, beginning with a visit to Denver on Wednesday. The Hawks play at Portland on Sunday.The Trail Blazers won their sixth straight in Atlanta.Hawks rookie Acie Law made his sixth start and had seven points and five assists. Atlanta's regular point guard, Anthony Johnson, served a one-game suspension for his flagrant foul against Toronto's Jose Calderon on Friday.Johnson's suspension also cleared more playing time for Lue, who had 13 points in the first half while making each of his three 3-point attempts.Rodriguez countered with 10 first-half points to help the Trail Blazers lead 54-50 at halftime.Law hit a 3-pointer and then set up a basket for Horford as the Hawks opened the second half with a 9-0 run. It was Law's first 3 in eight games, earning the rookie a bear hug from Smith on the way off the floor on a Portland timeout.NotesThe Hawks haven't beaten the Trail Blazers in Atlanta since Jan. 8, 2002. Overall, the Trail Blazers have won 15 of the last 18 games in the series since 1998. ... Hawks G Salim Stoudamire was in uniform for the first time since Dec. 14, but he did not play. ... Portland's seven-game road trip ends Wednesday at New Orleans.