Blazers Dismantle Hawks

Actor Erik Estrada and his daughter attend the Walt Disney Pictures' premiere of "The Shaggy Dog" at The El Capitan Theatre March 7, 2006, in Hollywood, Calif.
GETTY IMAGES/Kevin Winter

The Portland Trail Blazers finally played a game up to their standards, which is a scary thing for the rest of the NBA.

Damon Stoudamire scored 20 points and led a dominant fast break for the Portland Trail Blazers, who built a 32-point halftime lead and coasted past the Atlanta Hawks 131-95 Saturday night.

"We weren't running it up, we were just playing basketball, and they happened to run into us on a bad night for them," Stoudamire said. "This is the first time this year that we've really put a team away when we were supposed to."

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  • Portland, which had its highest point total since a 135-109 over Boston on Dec. 27, 1995, improved to 6-1, tied with San Antonio for the best record in the NBA.

    The Hawks fell to 1-5 on the season and 0-3 on their Western Conference road trip, which ends Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    "Our defense was horrendous," said Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens. "It was almost like our players didn't want their guys to score no team defense. This team has to learn to play defense. My teams have all been good defensively."

    Alan Henderson led the Hawks with 22 points and rookie Jason Terry, who played with Stoudamire in college at Arizona, added 17.

    The Blazers were so much faster and stronger than the Hawks that Stoudamire scored just two points after the 10:05 mark of the second quarter. His team scarcely needed him, as Portland's reserves outscored Atlanta's 74-43.

    Jermaine O'Neal scored 17 and Detlef Schrempf added 16 for the Blazers, who hot 65 percent, helped by a variety of dunks and easy layups in transition. Portland has shot better than 54 percent in four of their seven games.

    "We've been moving the ball pretty unselfishly all year," said Scottie Pippen, who had 10 points sixth-best on the team. "We're an unselfish team, and we were real sharp tonight. That's just our style."

    Isaiah Rider, playing the Blazers for the first time since they traded he and Jim Jackson to Atlanta for Steve Smith, said he had circled this game on his calendar before the season. But it was mostly a forgettable night for him.

    Rider made three of his first four shots as the Hawks stayed close early, but he missed his next nine, and Portland began to pull away. Rider finished with 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting.

    "I wanted to come out and have a better game than I did," Rider said. "But they started double-teaming me, so I stopped being aggressive."

    Of the Blazers, the ever self-promoting Rider said, "I was doing what they did tonight last year. Last year, we looked good, too. We were a good passing team, too. The only difference is they have more versatility."

    The Blazers hit everything in the second quarter, shooting 79 percent to stretch an 11-point lead at the start of the period to 76-44 by halftime. Atlanta gave up 40 points in the paint and shot just 33 percent in the quarter.

    Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo was called for two illegal defenses in the first quarter and stewed at the officials the rest of the way. He finished with six points on 0-for-4 shooting in 27 minutes.

    Spurred by reserves Schrempf, Bonzi Wells and Stacey Augmon, Portland passed the ball extremely well and hustled after loose balls. On one possession, backup Antonio Harvey dunked, got fouled, missed the free throw, grabbed his rebound and dunked again.

    Notes

  • The 76 points scored by the Blazers in the first half were their most since scoring 86 against Golden State in 1986.
  • All 12 Blazers scored. Reserve center Joe Kleine was the last to get in the box score with a layup with 11:21 to play.
  • Atlanta had won four straight in Portland.
  • Jackson scored five points, and Smith had nine.
  • The Blazers are leading the league in field-goal shooting at 52 percent.

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