Jamal Crawford is happy with his new team and his new role.
PORTLAND — Jamal Crawford is happy with his new team and his new role.
"This is the most fun I've had because I haven't had these kinds of athletes, ever. So it feels good," he said after scoring 27 points off the bench to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 97-91 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Al Horford's dunk with 56.6 seconds left made it 95-89 and all but sealed it for the Hawks. Horford finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
LaMarcus Aldridge, who was questionable going into the game with a knee injury, led the Blazers with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Horford's dunk on a fast break put the Hawks up 86-80 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. He momentarily stood underneath the basket, staring down the Rose Garden crowd in defiance after Portland led by as many as 12 points in the first half.
Portland's Travis Outlaw made a jumper and a 3-pointer to narrow it to 86-85, but Crawford came back with a jumper from the top of the arc with 4:01 left.
After Outlaw responded with another jumper, Joe Johnson hit a 3-pointer to make it 91-89 for the Hawks.
Andre Miller made a pair of free throws for Portland before Johnson's jumper and Horford's dunk with just under a minute left kept Portland at bay the rest of the way.
Crawford, who was acquired by Atlanta in the offseason after splitting time between New York and Golden State last year, said he's adjusting to his reserve role.
"I think it gives us good balance," he said. "We have a really, really strong starting five and we have a really good bench, so we try to balance both and make the best of it."
The Hawks (3-1) were playing the second of a four-game road trip. They fell 118-110 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Aldridge played against the Hawks after he was knocked out of Portland's game Sunday at Oklahoma City with a bone contusion on his right knee. The Blazers (2-3) defeated the Thunder 83-74.
The Blazers uncharacteristically fell to 1-2 last home. Last season they were 34-7 advantage at the Rose Garden.
"I feel like our level of play has got to go up," coach Nate McMillan said. "To win, we're not playing as hard as we need to to win ball games."
The Blazers and the Hawks split their series last season, with each team holding their own at home. Portland has won nine of the last 11 against Atlanta at the Rose Garden.
The Blazers began to pull away late in the first quarter, capped by Brandon Roy's two-handed jam to make it 25-15. Greg Oden padded the lead to start the second with a dunk off a pass from Miller.
But the Hawks came back, with a 14-6 run capped by Mike Bibby's 3-pointer to close to within 43-41. The Hawks narrowed it to 48-47 at the break. Atlanta was led by Crawford, who had 15 points in the quarter.
"He was huge," said coach Mike Woodson. "He's a shotmaker. I haven't had a big-time guy off the bench like that who can score the ball.
Atlanta jumped up early in the second half but it was brief, marked by a Horford shot that came to rest on the space between the rim and the backboard.
Portland came back to go up by as much as 64-56 after Steve Blake's 10-foot-jumper, but again Atlanta answered and led 72-69 at the end of three.
Roy's step-back jumper tied it for the Blazers at 80, but the Hawks scored the next six straight, capped by Horford's fast break dunk, with an assist from Crawford, that made it 86-80.
Notes: Before the game they Blazers held a moment of silence for Phil Lumpkin, who played two seasons in the NBA after being a second-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1974. He was the longtime coach of O'Dea High School in Seattle. ... Oden played for Ohio State and Horford played for Florida in the 2007 NCAA title game, which the Gators won.