Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/30

Game 1: Monday, December 30th
Trail Blazers85Final
Game 2: Sunday, March 2nd
Trail Blazers103

Trail Blazers 85

(18-11, 9-7 away)

Pistons 74

(20-10, 12-3 home)

    7:30 PM ET, December 30, 2002

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 18 28 22 1785
    DET 21 20 18 1574

    Top Performers

    Por: R. Wallace 19 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Det: B. Wallace 8 Pts, 20 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 5 Blk

    After early trouble, Blazers scratch out another win

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Rasheed Wallace heading to the bench in the opening seconds wasn't exactly how the Portland Trail Blazers wanted to start their quest for an eighth straight victory.

    In the end, though, it didn't matter.

    After picking up two fouls in the first 42 seconds, Wallace came back to score 19 points, and Bonzi Wells added 17 as the Trail Blazers beat the Detroit Pistons 85-74 Monday night.

    "We didn't want to have Rasheed on the bench like that, but we responded,'' Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Zach Randolph came in and did a great job. That's how he has been pretty much all year. He has stepped up and responded when we needed him.''

    Portland blew a 13-point third-quarter lead, allowing Detroit to tie the game at 68 with 8:20 to play.

    The Trail Blazers then scored the next 15 points, holding the Pistons scoreless for over six minutes. Wallace and Dale Davis each had four points in the run, and three other players scored.

    "Right now, when adversity strikes, we are coming together like a family,'' Wells said. "I'm just a role player; Rasheed's our guy. I work off him, and whatever I can do to help him, I'll do it.''

    Pistons coach Rick Carlisle was ejected from the game during the run after picking up his second technical foul of the night.

    "I don't condone getting thrown out of games, but I felt there were discrepancies out there that were unfair to my players,'' said Carlisle.

    Detroit's Cliff Robinson, who fouled out in just 22 minutes, also was unhappy with the officiating.

    "We are playing to play with defensive intensity, and we are getting met with tough whistles,'' he said. "I wish I could pinpoint the reason, but I can't. I just want them to call it fair.''

    Derek Anderson added 14 for Portland, which has beaten Detroit five straight times and eight of the nine.

    "We're playing together,'' Anderson said. "Last year we had guys complaining about playing time, and there were other things going on. This year, nobody complains, they just play.''

    Richard Hamilton scored 22 for Detroit, which had its five-game home winning streak snapped, while Corliss Williamson added 16 and Ben Wallace had 20 rebounds but missed eight of 10 free throws.

    Portland led 46-41 at halftime, with Rasheed Wallace scoring nine despite the foul trouble.

    "We have a lot of quality players,'' Cheeks said. "When Rasheed was out of the game and Bonzi was not making shots, I think everyone was chipping in. Then, as the game unfolded, it became Bonzi and Rasheed, the guys that have been carrying us pretty much for the last eight to 10 games.''

    Hamilton scored Detroit's first seven points of the second half, allowing the Pistons to get to 53-48 midway through the third. A 11-2 run late in the period helped Portland expand the margin to 13, at 68-55.

    The Blazers led 68-59 at the end of the quarter, but Jon Barry started the fourth with two 3-pointers, pulling Detroit within three. Barry added a technical-foul free throw before Williamson's layup tied the game.

    "We made a nice run, but then we had some bad turnovers,'' Barry said. "You can't do stuff like that against an awfully good team like Portland.''

    Game notes

    The teams combined to miss 12 of 28 free throws in the first half. Wallace went 0-for-4 for Detroit, while Ruben Patterson was 1-of-5 for Portland. ... Pistons center Zeljko Rebraca missed his fourth straight game with an irregular heartbeat. ... Officials called three free-throw lane violations during the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 74
    FGM-FGA 29-63 (.460) 26-73 (.356)
    3PM-3PA 1-10 (.100) 6-22 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 26-32 (.813) 16-28 (.571)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-40 14-42
    Assists 14 20
    Turnovers 17 16
    Steals 12 10
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 3 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (2/0) 28 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Rasheed Wallace Wallace
    Points: 19
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Ben Wallace Wallace
    Points: 8
    Reb: 20
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 5