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November 18, 2009

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Hawks win to halt streaking Blazers

THE Atlanta Hawks beat Portland 99-95 in overtime on Monday, spoiling the Trail Blazers' bid for a perfect five-game road trip.

Joe Johnson had a game-high 35 points, including eight in overtime, as the Hawks won their fifth game in a row.

"Two, three, four years ago we'd have lost a game like this," Johnson told reporters after the Hawks moved into a tie for the league's best record at 9-2.

"We are no where near close (to those Hawks of the past)."

Portland (8-4) entered the game winning six straight, including four in a row on the road. Johnson also had nine assists while Josh Smith recorded 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Hawks.

Blazers reserve Rudy Fernandez drained a three-pointer as time expired in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime and scored a team-high 19 points.

Johnson scored six of his team's first eight points in overtime as the Hawks built a 93-87 lead. They improved to 5-0 at home for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

The Blazers, coming into the game on a six-game winning streak, had 18 points and nine rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge and 17 and nine from Brandon Roy.

Portland held a 72-62 lead with 8:22 left in the fourth before Atlanta ran off 10 unanswered points in a little more than two minutes to tie the game.

Johnson had his team's final four points in regulation as the Hawks led 85-82 with four seconds left, but Portland put together an out-of-bounds play to get Fernandez his game-tying shot.

The Blazers have been in top form since inserting new point guard Andre Miller into the starting lineup on November 6. Miller was signed as a free agent in the offseason and helped spark the team's win streak.

The Hawks, surprise leaders of the Southeast division, have been bolstered by their own offseason pickup of high-scoring guard Jamal Crawford.

"Expectations are high this year," said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson. "It's kind of nice starting out at the top of your division. There's nothing wrong with winning the division."

In Milwaukee, Dirk Nowitzki hit a 18-foot fallaway as time expired in overtime to give the Dallas Mavericks a 115-113 victory over the Bucks.

With 3.1 seconds left, Nowitzki caught a pass from Jason Kidd, who finished a point short of a triple-double, and threw it up over Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The ball rattled off the rim and backboard, dropping softly through the hoop as the backboard lights came on.

Nowitzki, who finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds, untucked his jersey and celebrated with his teammates near the Mavericks' bench after the shot went in. The play was upheld on review.

In Orlando, Rashard Lewis had 10 points in his first game back from a suspension, leading Orlando to a 97-91 victory over the Bobcats.


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