Josh Smith was dunking all over the court. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford were hitting shots and Zaza Pachulia looked like a man on a mission to get his playing time back.
Thus, it came as no surprise that the Atlanta Hawks coasted to a 90-83 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night at the Rose Garden. However, in typical Hawks style, they had to make it more difficult than it had to be.
Crawford posted a game-high 23 points and Johnson added 22 as there was not much doubt in this one midway through the second quarter.
Atlanta used a 15-0 run to establish a double-digit lead in the second before scoring 14 of 15 to build a 23 point lead and essentially put the game away in the third as they rolled to their second straight victory. Both wins have coincided with the acquisition of Kirk Hinrich, who posted eight points in this one.
Portland used 16-2 run to cut the lead to 82-76 on Andre Miller's layup with 2:01 left, but Crawford answered with a 3-pointer to reestablish a nine point lead with 96 seconds remaining. Andre Miller cut the lead back to seven with a bucket with 1:29 remaining.
The Blazers had a chance to make it a five point deficit, but Hinrich drew a crucial charge. Crawford drained a four free throws down the stretch, before Portland responded with a pair of buckets to close the edge to 89-83. Smith split a pair of free throws with 12.8 ticks left to seal the win.
Portland fans are wondering what could have happened if their team actually competed for the entire 48 minutes.
The Blazers welcomed back starting center Marcus Camby, who missed a little more of a month with a torn meniscus in his left knee. It was also the debut of Wallace, who was acquired in a trade deadline deal from the Charlotte Bobcats.
Wallace was given a standing ovation when he entered the game with 4:44 left in the first, but struggled to find his shot. He finished with just nine points on (4-for-12) shooting from the field.
The Blazers were just simply beat in their own game. The Hawks controlled the boards, outrebounding Portland 48-34 and dished 16 assists to to the Trail Blazers' 14. Portland turned the ball over 14 times. Atlanta had a season-high 24 turnovers.
Pachulia helped lead the brigade on the boards. The veteran from the Republic of Georgia was held out of Wednesday night's contest against the Phoenix Suns as a deal with the Houston Rockets for center Brad Miller was a possibility. Even after that deal fell through by the deadline, Pachulia was benched by Hawks coach Larry Drew in Friday's win over the Golden State Warriors.
When given the opportunity for redemption, Pachulia was relentless, grabbing 12 boards and posting three assists in 20-plus minutes off of the bench.
LaMarcus Aldridge missed part of the first and second quarters with a leg injury. He finished with 19 points and eight boards.