Thomas lights up Blazers, then sits with sore ankle

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Tim Thomas seems to like shooting against Portland.

Thomas scored a season-high 25 points before spraining his left ankle 40 seconds into the fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks had a strong second half and beat the Trail Blazers 101-79 Friday night.

"Tonight he hit his 3s and he's done that before against Portland,'' Milwaukee coach George Karl. "Maybe this is his favorite team to shoot against.''

Sam Cassell scored 19, Anthony Mason had a season-high 16 points with seven rebounds and nine assists, and Ray Allen had 15 points. Michael Redd had 11 points and rookie Dan Gadzuric had seven points and a season-high 11 rebounds.

Portland pulled to 48-47 early in the second half, only to have
the Bucks score the next 11 points.

"Then we exploded,'' Michael Redd said. "We started to move the ball and made shots. When you make shots, you tend to play better defense.''

The Bucks made five 3-pointers, three by Thomas, in the third
quarter in claiming a 60-40 lead. Thomas, who said he would play in
Saturday's game at Chicago, was 9-of-15 from the field including
5-of-6 on 3-pointers.

Milwaukee was 12-of-18 on 3-pointers.

"They made a collection of 3-pointers that put them way ahead,'' said Zach Randolph, who led Portland with 17 points in matching his career high.

The Trail Blazers, who hadn't lost to Milwaukee since January 1998, got 14 points from Derek Anderson and 12 from Damon Stoudamire.

"We were trying to do too much early in the game,'' Anderson
said. "We expended ourselves mentally by not doing the things
we're supposed to do on defense. We didn't defend and didn't have
that energy that makes us go.''

Portland didn't get closer than 15 in the fourth quarter, and two 3-pointers by Redd helped boost Milwaukee's lead to 25 with 2:25 left.

The Bucks led for all but 2:03 of the first half. It was 9-9 when Thomas, who had 14 points in the first half, started a 9-0 run and the Bucks had a 48-45 lead at halftime.

Portland coach Maurice Cheeks didn't blame the loss on fatigue after playing the fourth game of a five-game road trip.

"I don't go by that,'' he said. "We all travel, we all play back-to-back games. Our game is pushing the ball and we had only three fast-break points.

"The third quarter may have put us in the hole, but at the
start of the game there really was just no energy.''

Game notes
Until Friday, the Blazers were the only team Karl hadn't beaten since taking over in Milwaukee in the 1998-99 season. The Bucks were 0-6 under Karl against Portland. ... Milwaukee F Jason
Caffey didn't play because of a strained left hamstring. ... Portland G Scottie Pippen had four steals, giving him 2,209 in his career and moving him past Clyde Drexler into fourth place all-time. ... Portland C Arvydas Sabonis, who played nine minutes in each half, turns 38 next Friday.


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