Joe Johnson scored eight of his game-high 35 points in overtime as his Atlanta Hawks went on to outlast the Portland Trail Blazers 99-95 last night at Philips Arena. The Hawks have started off the year red hot with regular season record of 9-2. The team believes themselves to be definite contenders in the East for 2010.
“The last two years being in the playoffs has put this team in a totally different light,” said coach Mike Woodson. “Now when they go on the court, they know they have a chance to win. It’s kind of nice sitting on the top of the division.” Josh Smith collected 20 points and 16 rebounds to help Atlanta earn their fifth consecutive victory, a streak that includes a tough road win in Boston against the Celtics.
The Trail Blazers have also improved immensely over the years. So far this season they hold an 8-4 record with young talent LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller, and Greg Oden leading the way. Aldridge notched 18 yesterday with Miller and Oden following up with 14 and 11, respectively. Portland is set to host the Detroit Pistons Wednesday as the Hawks take on the Miami Heat in Atlanta.