A season of frustration continued to slip away from the Trail Blazers on Monday when Atlanta forged two comebacks that eventually resulted in a 109-104 overtime win at the Moda Center.
Hawks forward Paul Millsap forced overtime with a finger roll at the regulation buzzer, then the Hawks overcame a seven-point deficit in overtime, sealing the victory when Damian Lillard fell and coughed up the ball with 6.4 seconds left on a drive with the Blazers trailing by one.
The Blazers (23-32) lost their third consecutive home game and fell two games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and into a tie for ninth with Sacramento.
Millsap, who scored the overtime-forcing basket after taking an inbounds pass with 2.2 seconds left, finished with 21 points and nine rebounds and five assists. Atlanta (32-23) won after losing its last game in Sacramento at the buzzer.
Portland looked like it was headed to a gritty win when Maurice Harkless scored on a tip-in with 34.6 seconds left, beating Dwight Howard to a rebound off a missed free throw by Ed Davis. The hustle play gave the Blazers a 97-94 lead, but after a Howard free throw, and a McCollum miss, the Hawks rebounded and called timeout with 2.2 seconds left, setting up Millsap’s left-handed finger roll.
In overtime, Portland scored the first seven points – an Ed Davis inside basket, a long three-pointer by Lillard and a floater by McCollum, but the Blazers missed their final eight shots.
Aminu had 14 points and 15 rebounds – his third straight game in double figures – and McCollum scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, when Portland overcame a one-point deficit.
It was the first game after the Blazers traded starting center Mason Plumlee to Denver for Jusuf Nurkic. Meyers Leonard started at center and finished with two points, six rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes. He missed his first five shots and finished 1-for-7 from the field.
Ed Davis played backup center and recorded 11 points, 13 rebounds and three assists before fouling out with 2:24 left in overtime after playing 27 minutes.
Atlanta took a 75-74 lead into the fourth quarter after Mike Muscala scored a layin off an inbounds pass with 0.4 seconds left in the quarter.
The Blazers led 48-42 after both teams struggled from the field. Atlanta shot 33 percent and the Blazers 32 in a lackluster first half. The Blazers made only six field goals in the second quarter, but two of them were three-pointers by Aminu to start the quarter and push the lead to 34-21.
Portland closed the first quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 28-21 lead. The run was capped by a three-pointer from Pat Connaughton at the buzzer, which came after Ed Davis grabbed and offensive rebound and fired a pass to Connaughton on the wing.
Next up: Blazers at Utah, 6 p.m. Wednesday (KGW)