Trail Blazers-Hawks Preview
Atlanta has been executing offensively on a three-game winning streak, and Portland's losing streak reached three after one of its worst defensive halves of the season.
More could be on the way Monday night as the Hawks open a three-game homestand and the Trail Blazers try to avoid an 0-4 start to their five-game road trip.
The Hawks (17-12) won 103-100 in Orlando on Sunday and are averaging 113 points while shooting 52.5 percent in the last three games. Kyle Korver was 6 of 8 from 3-point range on his way to a team-high 19 points with four of those 3s coming in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning shot to break a 100-all tie.
Coach Mike Budenholzer said an effective Korver has a trickle-down effect.
"When he's making shots it creates space for us," Budenholzer said. "Obviously if Kyle gets a good look, you feel like it's going to go in."
His shots, however, haven't been as easy to come by this season. The sharp-shooting guard is attempting 4.9 3s per game this season after averaging 5.7 in his first three seasons in Atlanta, and his 41.7 percent mark is down from 47.4 those three seasons. He's averaging 10.3 points after scoring 12.1 in 2014-15.
"I haven't quite found my rhythm yet so it was good to see the ball go in the basket," said Korver, who had shot 28.9 percent from 3 in his previous seven games. "I'll keep trying to find my rhythm and find my shot, and you try to stay confident."
The Hawks won both meetings last season with Paul Millsap averaging 24 points, and the Blazers will have to look elsewhere for scoring after leaning on the departed LaMarcus Aldridge for 33.5 points in those games.
While Atlanta is 4-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, Portland is 1-6 with five straight defeats.
The Blazers (11-18) are coming off a 116-109 loss Sunday in Miami in which they led by 10 at the break, then allowed 64 points on 63.9 percent in the second half to fall into last place in the Northwest Division.
"They scored (64) in the second half," Mason Plumlee told the team's official website. "That's a lot of points to give up in a half. It's hard to win when you give up that many. And they shot the ball really well from 3 tonight."
The Heat were 12 of 23 from outside after the Blazers had limited their previous two opponents to 4 of 29. Portland has given up 108 points per game, a 56.9 2-point percentage and averaged 18.7 turnovers on the skid.
Damian Lillard led the way with 32 points, and Al-Farouq Aminu had 16 points for a second straight game but didn't get a shot off in the second half after hitting four first-half 3-pointers. The forward is 8 of 12 from long range in the last two games and 51.4 percent in his last nine.
Lillard, who was 10-of-18 shooting after a few rough games, is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but it sounds like he'll continue to play through it.
"It wasn't nothing crazy, just a little sore," Lillard said. "In the game I think I aggravated it a little bit ... I'm not really worried about it."