Atlanta loses 18th straight on on the road

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Zach Randolph's return to form helped the
Portland Trail Blazers find victory and maybe some hope for the
rest of the season.

Randolph had 31 points, including the go-ahead basket with 9
seconds left, and 12 rebounds to lead the Trail Blazers over the
Atlanta Hawks 102-101 on Friday night.

Al Harrington had 25 points for the Hawks, who, one day after
trading away top scorer and rebounder Antoine Walker, dropped their
18th straight road game.

Randolph's game-winning runner in the lane made up for a bad
miss on the preceding possession that turned into a fast-break dunk
for Harrington and a 101-100 lead for Atlanta.

The Hawks had two chances to win. Peja Drobnjak missed a jumper
with 5 seconds left before the ball was knocked out of bounds by
the Blazers. Harrington had an open shot at the buzzer, but it was
off, too.

Back in the starting lineup for banged-up Theo Ratliff, Randolph
made 13 of 17 shots from the field. A knee injury that sidelined
him last month also kept him out of the Blazers' last game before
the All-Star break, but a long rest seems to have helped.

"I'm just playing loose," Randolph said. "I feel good out
there and I am trying to get back to my old self. I'm not 100
percent, but I am close."

The Hawks, losers of six straight, are 2-25 on the road this

"This was Zach Randolph's game," Harrington said. "He gets
them in bunches. He's got that little floater-slash-hook shot. It's
hard to get to."

Ruben Patterson had 20 points for Portland, and Damon Stoudamire
added 14 points and 14 assists. Drobnjak had 19 points on 9-of-16
shooting, and Boris Diaw added 17 for Atlanta.

In the midst of seven-game road trip, the Hawks took a shot at
reshaping their hapless squad by dealing Walker back to his
original team, the Boston Celtics, in exchange for point guard Gary
Payton, forwards Tom Gugliotta and Michael Stewart and a future
first-round draft choice.

Stewart was the only one of the new Hawks who reported in time
for the game, and Payton wants a buyout of his deal so he can join
a contender.

Despite almost constant rumors that they were interested in
dealing several veteran players, the Blazers didn't make any moves
prior to Thursday's deadline.

Portland, which had made the playoffs 22 consecutive seasons
before last year, had fallen to 21-30 on Wednesday, their worst
record at that point in 30 seasons. The failure to pull off a trade
despite holding Damon Stoudamire, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Nick Van
Exel's expiring contracts had darkened the mood around the Rose

Coach Maurice Cheeks ripped the Blazers' defensive effort, but
recognized the importance of the win.

"It was definitely better than a loss," he said. "It's a lot
better to stand up here (after a win) than a loss."

Portland led 67-61 after Randolph's rebound putback. Atlanta
tied up the game just before the end of the third quarter, and
Smith found Harrington for a dunk that gave the Hawks an 88-87 lead
in the fourth.

Portland took back the lead, but Drobnjak made a 3-pointer to
give Atlanta a 93-92 advantage. Patterson scored six of the Blazers
next eight points, and Portland led 100-97 with just under 2
minutes left.

The subtraction of Walker, who was averaging 20.4 points and 9.4
rebounds, frees up playing time for the Hawks' young nucleus, which
includes Harrington and rookies Josh Smith and Josh Childress.

Harrington, who has been the team's second-leading scorer, was
the most obvious beneficiary Friday, hitting 10 of 21 shots from
the field and going 4-of-5 from the free throw line.

Childress, starting his 17th game, had 11 points and 10 rebounds
and Tyronn Lue added 12 points and eight assists.

"The guys came in and they stepped up and they played," said
Hawks coach Mike Woodson. "It's a great effort."

Game notes
Stewart, who has played just 55 games in the last three
seasons, played four minutes in his Atlanta debut and didn't score.
... Portland C Joel Przybilla was ejected midway through the third
quarter after picking up his second technical foul.