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Blazers keep Sonics dazed and confused

2/16/2003

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers got the win
they needed.

Rasheed Wallace had 27 points and eight rebounds, and Dale Davis
added 17 points and 14 rebounds as Portland beat Seattle 101-96 on
Saturday night to snap a two-game losing streak.

"We simply needed a win,'' Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
"We needed a win to get our rhythm back.''

Derek Anderson added 20 points and Bonzi Wells had 12 points for
Portland, which has two games remaining on a five-game homestand.
"The simple fact is we needed a win badly,'' Davis said.

"There were good times and there were bad times throughout the
game. We just have to cut out our unforced errors and play a little
smarter.''

What many thought would be a blowout for Portland -- the Sonics
lost by 29 Friday at Sacramento -- ended up a nail-biter.

The Blazers, who were the hottest team at the All-Star break
with 22 wins in their previous 27 games, had an eight-point lead
with just over a minute left, but the Sonics closed within one with
12.2 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Predrag Drobnjak.

After Anderson's two free throws with 10.9 left, Gary Payton
missed a desperation 3 with a second to go. Wallace iced the game
with a pair of free throws.

"Portland did a really good job of sniffing it out,'' said
Brent Barry of Payton's last shot. "Gary's shot was a bit of a
prayer, and as it's been in the last couple of weeks, our prayers
haven't been answered.''

Drobnjak had 23 points to lead the Sonics, who lost their sixth
in a row. Payton had 19 points and seven assists, Desmond Mason had
14 points and Vitaly Potapenko 13. Seattle had a 28-4 advantage on
the fast break.

"I thought we were pretty aggressive going to the basket,''
Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought we played a real good
game, to be able to fight back and get back into the game and have
a chance to win this game.''

The Blazers -- and Anderson in particular -- got off to a fast
start, leading by as many as 17 in the first quarter behind four 3s
by Anderson.

"We got off to a good start, and we were energized,'' Cheeks
said. "I'm certainly not glad with the way we about the way we
finished the game, but overall I think we're still playing good
basketball.''

But Seattle chipped away and trailed by just six at the end of
the first. Then a 15-2 run in the second quarter gave the Sonics
the lead, and quieted a packed Rose Garden.

"Teams think that they can win here,'' Scottie Pippen said.
"We haven't proved that we are dominant on our court yet.''

After being outscored 31-25 in the first, Seattle had a 31-23
second-quarter advantage, keyed by eight points from Drobnjak.

But the Blazers put the clamps on defensively in the third,
holding Seattle to just 16 points.

A 16-6 run in the third put Portland back in front for good,
although the Sonics were able to stay in the game all the way to
the end.

Barry had six points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for the
Sonics.

Ruben Patterson, who said he should have been in at the end of
Portland's last game against Boston to guard Paul Pierce, was just
1-of-6 from the floor with three fouls and two turnovers in 19
minutes.

Seattle played without its leading rebounder and second-leading
scorer, Rashard Lewis, who sat out with a sprained right ankle.

Game notes
Payton is 14 assists behind Cheeks for seventh place on the
career list (7,392). ... The Blazers haven't lost three in a row
since the second, third and fourth games of the season. ...
Portland guard Damon Stoudamire did not play for the third
consecutive game, the 19th time he has sat for an entire game. He
has never gone more than three games in a row without playing.
Stoudamire has missed more games this season than in his previous
three full years in Portland combined.

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