Sun, May 04, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Portland making historic comeback

BLAZING A NEW TRAIL After pounding Dallas, the Blazers have forced a final game in their first-round series by returning from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs


The Portland Trail Blazers trounced the Dallas Mavericks 125-103 Friday night to move one step away from making NBA history -- becoming the first team to successfully come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.

The Trail Blazers scored 37 points in the second quarter and 64 in the first half, opening a huge lead that held up the rest of the way as they pounded the Dallas Mavericks to force a decisive Game 7 in their first-round series.

After dropping the first three games, the Blazers have won three straight to become just the third team in league history to force a Game 7 after losing the first three. The others were Denver against Utah in 1994 and New York against Rochester in 1951.

Zach Randolph had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Ruben Patterson scored 20, Bonzi Wells added 18 and Arvydas Sabonis had 16 for the Blazers, who led by as many as 32 and had six players in double figures.

Mavs guard Steve Nash, who didn't score in Game 4 and had just seven points in Game 5, had 21 points and six assists for the visibly stunned Mavericks.

Detroil 103, Orlando 88

In Orlando, Florida, Chauncey Billups scored 18 of his career-high 40 points in a decisive first quarter, and the Detroit Pistons defeated the Magic night to even their first-round playoff series and set up a Game 7 Sunday in Detroit.

Billups shot 7-of-14 on 3-pointers, including all five tries in the first period when Detroit seized a lead it would never relinquish. Billups entered the game shooting 14 percent (4-for-28) from behind the arc.

Richard Hamilton added 22 points, and Ben Wallace had his fourth double-double of the series with 20 points and 17 rebounds while also blocking five shots.

By snapping a 12-game road playoff losing streak, the Pistons moved one win away from becoming only the seventh team in NBA playoff history to avoid elimination after falling behind 3-1.

Orlando shot 39.5 percent, missing 16 of 18 3-point attempts, and turned the ball over 17 times. Tracy McGrady had 37 points and 11 rebounds.

76ers 107, Hornets 103

In New Orleans, Allen Iverson capped a 45-point performance by scoring Philadelphia's final six points -- including a key straightaway bank shot with 10 seconds left -- as the 76ers eliminated the Hornets.

Several other Sixers had solid games -- Keith Van Horn with 18 points and 18 rebounds, Derrick Coleman with 16 points and Kenny Thomas with 10.

Jamal Mashburn, playing his second game with a chipped bone in his right middle finger, scored 36 to lead New Orleans, which was hurt by 14-for-23 free throw shooting, missing five of eight in the final period.

Iverson had 15 points in the fourth quarter for the 76ers, who advanced to play the winner of the Orlando-Detroit series.

Duncan wins MVP award

Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs has won the balloting for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, The Associated Press learned Saturday.

Duncan becomes the first player since Michael Jordan in 1991 and 1992 to win the league's most coveted individual award in consecutive seasons.

The San Antonio Express-News was the first news organization to learn of Duncan's selection, reporting the news on its Web site early Saturday. A basketball source with knowledge of the final vote totals, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to the AP that Duncan had indeed won the award.

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