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Pippen, Woods help Portland to sixth victory in a row

12/28/2002

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers extended their
season-best winning streak to six games, thanks to outstanding
efforts by a cagy veteran and a prized rookie.

Scottie Pippen scored a season-high 23 points, and Qyntel Woods
had a career-high 10 first-half points as Portland beat the Utah
Jazz 103-98 on Friday night.

''It was a lot of fun,'' Pippen said. ''It was still a team
effort. I think we're still getting better and figuring each other
out. It makes the season a lot more fun than where we started.

Rasheed Wallace added 19 points and nine rebounds for the
Blazers, who have their longest winning streak since winning 12 in
a row last year. Ruben Patterson scored 16 points and Pippen added
eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Derek Anderson made
up for a poor shooting night with 10 assists.

''I really like the way we've been playing, especially the way
we seemed to gut it out at the end after Utah made its run,''
Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. ''We were able to sustain after
that and build some confidence for a really tough road trip
ahead.''

Matt Harpring led the Jazz with 20 points and six rebounds. Karl
Malone had 14 points and seven rebounds, and John Stockton had 14
points and eight assists for Utah, which had its three-game winning
streak snapped.

''They beat us all the way around,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan
said. ''They kicked our butts on the boards. We had opportunities
to get the ball, but we didn't go after it. If you don't go after
the ball you're not going to have a chance to win.''

Utah trailed by 13 with 8:46 to play, but a 15-2 run tied it at
89-89 just more than five minutes later.

''You don't get anything for second place,'' Malone said.
''We've been playing well, so it's disappointing. It's
disappointing because you have to go out on the road and win.''

From there, it was a battle of free throws as each team made
just one field goal in the last 3:48. Scott Padgett missed a
3-pointer with about five seconds left that would have tied it. And
even though Anderson undercut him, no foul was called.

''No, there wasn't any foul, there wasn't one called,'' said
Sloan, whose actions after the non-call conflicted with his
postgame comments.

Woods electrified the largest Rose Garden crowd in weeks -- an
announced sellout of 20,152 -- with a trio of spectacular
above-the-rim lob-dunks. By the end of the first half, the 6-foot-8
swingman already had career highs in points, minutes, steals, field
goals and field-goal attempts.

''It was real fun,'' Woods said. ''I just went out and did what
I was capable of doing. I just go out and try to earn my team's
confidence and make them believe in me.''

Woods finished with 10 points, three rebounds and three steals
on 5-for-8 shooting in 19 minutes.

''Qyntel played very well, especially in the first half,''
Cheeks said. ''He ran the floor very well, defended well and gave
us a real lift in the second quarter. He's been working very hard
in practices and was ready when we called on him.''

The Blazers played without Bonzi Wells, who served the second of
his two-game suspension for fighting with Golden State's Chris
Mills after a game Dec. 20, and without forward Zach Randolph, who
sat out with a stomach virus.

Portland used an 11-3 run early in the second quarter to take
the lead and an 8-0 run to close the half to build a 54-45 halftime
advantage.

Game notes
Portland will wear red road uniforms for the first time
since the 1984-85 season when the team unveils an alternate third
jersey Saturday in Sacramento. The Blazers plan to wear the third
jersey seven more times this season, all on the road. ... Portland
played just five of its 15 December games at home. ... Utah's Mark
Jackson played in his 1,200th career game. ... Portland begins a
five game, eight-day road trip Saturday night in Sacramento. ... The
Blazers snapped a three-game losing streak to Utah, and improved to
45-17 at home against the Jazz.