NBA

Atlanta Hawks win battle of NBA's biggest surprise teams

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The Atlanta Hawks' fast start remains hard to believe. But, on Saturday night, they continued to remove doubt they are a legit contender with another impressive win.

The Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers are two of the NBA's biggest surprises. The Hawks (25-8) have the best record in the Eastern Conference, while the Trail Blazers (26-8) are second best in the West.

With the discrepancy in level of play between the two conferences, however, you would expect Portland to be the better team.

They have the biggest star in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard is a fine player too. The Hawks only really have Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap.

"We just kept saying, 'Stay solid. Keep playing our game, and let's go out and get this game,' " Hawks starter Kyle Korver said after the win. "And that's what we did."

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On the road?

The Hawks have had a tough schedule over the past month but have kept up their red-hot pace and won nine of 10.

They've had a lot of big wins over that time, but as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted, this might have been the most impressive.

Portland has been nails at home, winning all nine games at the Moda Center against the East and entering the game 15-2. Then, the Trail Blazers started the game up 8-0 but still lost 115-107.

At one point, Portland held a 20-point lead in the third quarter. And Korver made just 1 of 5 3-pointers while Aldridge put up 30 points with 12 rebounds.

Wesley Mathews added 19 points with four 3-pointers for the Blazers.

So who did it?

The biggest showing for the Hawks came from Millsap, who had a huge 27 points. But, again, it came down to balance in the scoring.

"This is a tough place to play," Millsap told AP of Portland's Moda Center. "I've played here many times over the years when I was in Utah -- I know how tough it is to play here. The crowd gets into it and the team feeds off the crowd. Winning here says a lot about our team."

Every starter finished in double figures, every starter averages double figures in scoring on the year. Teague is the leader and finished with 22 while Korver had 14, Al Horford had 13 and Demare Carroll scored 11.

The Hawks continue a tough stretch with a game at the Clippers on Monday before hosting the Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Topics:
NBA
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Atlanta Hawks
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference

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