Sunday, February 16, 2003
Blazers back on track
Enquirer news services
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers got the win they needed. Rasheed Wallace had 27 points and eight rebounds, and Dale Davis added 17 points and 14 rebounds as Portland beat Seattle 101-96 on Saturday night to snap a two-game losing streak.
"We simply needed a win," Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We needed a win to get our rhythm back."
Derek Anderson added 20 points and Bonzi Wells had 12 points for Portland, which has two games remaining on a five-game homestand.
"The simple fact is we needed a win badly," Davis said. "There were good times and there were bad times throughout the game. We just have to cut out our unforced errors and play a little smarter."
What many thought would be a blowout for Portland - the Sonics lost by 29 Friday at Sacramento - ended up a nail-biter.
The Blazers, who were the hottest team at the All-Star break with 22 wins in their previous 27 games, had an eight-point lead with just over a minute left, but the Sonics closed within one with 12.2 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Predrag Drobnjak.
After Anderson's two free throws with 10.9 left, Gary Payton missed a desperation 3 with a second to go. Wallace iced the game with a pair of free throws.
"Portland did a really good job of sniffing it out," said Brent Barry of Payton's last shot. "Gary's shot was a bit of a prayer, and as it's been in the last couple of weeks, our prayers haven't been answered."
Drobnjak had 23 points to lead the Sonics, who lost their sixth in a row. Payton had 19 points and seven assists, Desmond Mason had 14 points and Vitaly Potapenko 13. Seattle had a 28-4 advantage on the fast break.
"I thought we were pretty aggressive going to the basket," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought we played a real good game, to be able to fight back and get back into the game and have a chance to win this game."
The Blazers - and Anderson in particular - got off to a fast start, leading by as many as 17 in the first quarter behind four 3s by Anderson.
"We got off to a good start, and we were energized," Cheeks said. "I'm certainly not glad with the way we about the way we finished the game, but overall I think we're still playing good basketball."
But Seattle chipped away and trailed by just six at the end of the first. Then a 15-2 run in the second quarter gave the Sonics the lead, and quieted a packed Rose Garden.
"Teams think that they can win here," Scottie Pippen said. "We haven't proved that we are dominant on our court yet."
After being outscored 31-25 in the first, Seattle had a 31-23 second-quarter advantage, keyed by eight points from Drobnjak.
But the Blazers put the clamps on defensively in the third, holding Seattle to just 16 points.
A 16-6 run in the third put Portland back in front for good, although the Sonics were able to stay in the game all the way to the end.
Barry had six points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for the Sonics.
Ruben Patterson, who said he should have been in at the end of Portland's last game against Boston to guard Paul Pierce, was just 1-of-6 from the floor with three fouls and two turnovers in 19 minutes.
Seattle played without its leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, Rashard Lewis, who sat out with a sprained right ankle.
Bulls 87, Nuggets 69CHICAGO - Jalen Rose scored 27 points, and Tyson Chandler had a career-high 22 rebounds and 19 points as Chicago defeated Denver.
The Bulls snapped an eight-game losing streak, while the Nuggets dropped to 3-23 on the road with their 11th loss in 13 games. Chicago has the NBA's worst road record at 2-27.
Mavericks 98, Heat 92DALLAS - Dirk Nowitzki had 25 points and 12 rebounds and matched his career high with eight assists for Dallas.
Steve Nash added 19 points, and Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel had 17 each for the weary Mavericks, who played their fourth game in five nights.
Travis Best's 21 points paced Miami, which has lost seven of its last 10.
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