Blazers come up with 40-point first quarter and cruise to victory over Hawks
Damian Lillard plays 34 minutes, making 9 of 17 field goal attempts. AP

DAMIAN Lillard scored 27 points, C.J. McCollum added 22 as the Portland Trail Blazers opened the game with a 40-point first quarter to defeat the slumping Atlanta Hawks, 113-97, on Saturday in Atlanta (Sunday, Manila time).

Allen Crabbe added 16 for Portland, which started the game with a 17-3 run to lead from the opening tip to the last buzzer.

Portland has won seven of its last nine games as it tries to enter the postseason. They are 2 1/2 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Ersan Ilyasova, starting for Paul Millsap who was experiencing trouble with his left knee, scored 23 points for Atlanta which has lost three straight, including its last two home games.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 22. Dwight Howard had 14 points and 10 rebounds. 

Portland made 11 of their first 12 field goals as they outscored the home team 40-18 in the opening quarter.

The Hawks tried to rally in the last period but the closest they came to was 11 points.  

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