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Portland 125, Dallas 103

May 3, 2003 at 7:02 AM   |   Comments

PORTLAND, Ore., May 3 (UPI) -- Bonzi Wells scored 10 of his 18 points in the second quarter Friday night as the Portland Trail Blazers coasted to a 125-103 rout of the Dallas Mavericks to force a seventh game in their NBA Western Conference first-round series.

Portland dropped the first three games of the series to extend its playoff losing streak to 10 games, one shy of the NBA record. But the Trail Blazers have resurrected themselves in a week, becoming only the third NBA team to tie a series after losing the first three games.

No NBA team has ever won a series after trailing, 3-0. Game Seven is Sunday at Dallas.

"I think they're a little scared now, they've got their backs against the wall," Portland forward Ruben Patterson said. "We were down 3-0, we came back. Now they know we're going to be tough. ... I can't wait for Sunday."

Zach Randolph collected 21 points and 10 rebounds and Patterson added a playoff career-high 20 points for the Trail Blazers, who matched a franchise playoff record with 59.8 percent shooting (49-of-82).

"My whole message is the series isn't over until one team wins a fourth game," Trail Blazers Coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Now we're down to that. Once the ball goes up Sunday, everything is equal."

Portland held a 27-24 advantage after one quarter before burying Dallas in the second period. Rasheed Wallace made a 3-pointer that triggered a 19-3 tear as the Trail Blazers built a 46-27 cushion with 6:18 left before halftime.

Wallace scored nine of his 13 points in a period that saw Portland outscore Dallas, 37-14. Damon Stoudamire's jumper with three seconds left before the half made it 64-38.

"We believed from the beginning and the fans here, they believed in us," Wallace said. "There were a couple of people here that counted us out, but everyone was out here today and they saw it. We were just not ready for it to end."

Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki was held to four points on 2-of-11 shooting. Nowitzki averaged a playoff-leading 34.8 points in the first five games of the series.

"We played well on our home court and did not win on Wednesday and I thought tonight's game would be close, so, no, I didn't see this coming," Dallas Coach Don Nelson said. "It didn't matter what we did, when they made that run in the second quarter, we couldn't stop it."

Steve Nash finished with 21 points and six assists and Michael Finley scored 20 points for Dallas, which rested its "Big Three" the entire fourth quarter. The Mavericks have not lost four straight since a six-game skid from Feb. 29-March 9, 2000.

"I thought they were really active defensively," Nowitzki said. " They played with a lot of emotion. I thought we were really good in the first quarter. But the bottom fell out after that and it wasn't much of a game."

Six Trail Blazers scored in double figures as the team displayed a teamwork and cohesiveness that was absent in their losses. Portland finished with 32 assists as Wallace and reserve Jeff McInnis each had six.

Arvydas Sabonis scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Stoudamire finished with 14. Wells made 9-of-14 shots and Patterson was 8-of-10 from the floor.

"We just wanted to get one victory, and once you get one victory, anything can happen," Stoudamire said. "I've been in a seven-games series where we've been down 3-1, a couple of my teammates have. I don't think we've ever had panic."

The Trail Blazers held a commanding 45-32 edge on the glass. Sabonis grabbed eight rebounds and Wallace, Stoudamire and Wells all finished with six.

"Today, obviously, we couldn't rebound," said Nowitzki, who failed to grab a rebound. "This has been a key for us the whole year. If we don't rebound the ball, we're in trouble."

The big first half for Portland came without forward Scottie Pippen, who is still feeling the effects of a sore left knee. Pippen played seven minutes in the second half and finished with four points.

Pippen's jumper with 1:24 left in the third quarter gave Portland its largest lead, 95-63.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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