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Blazers ignore turmoil, leave Warriors in disarray

4/5/2003

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The NBA's most dysfunctional family is still rolling toward the playoffs.

Rasheed Wallace scored 18 of his 28 points in a brilliant third quarter as the Portland Trail Blazers held on to fourth place in the Western Conference, beating the Golden State Warriors 122-100 Friday night.

Derek Anderson had a season-high 31 points and a career-high 14
rebounds as the Blazers won for the third time in four games and
completed a regular-season sweep of Golden State.

Of course, they had to do it without Zach Randolph, who finished his two-game suspension for punching teammate Ruben Patterson in the face earlier in the week. Last week, rookie Qyntel Woods was cited for marijuana possession. A few days earlier, Wallace settled marijuana-related charges against him.

Despite the latest controversies in their tumultuous season, the
Blazers (47-28) moved a half-game ahead of idle Minnesota (47-29)
in the conference standings -- and they still don't understand why
there's such a fuss every time their drama-filled season takes
another turn.

"To us, it's everyday life,'' said Bonzi Wells, who had 17
points. "Things happen with everybody. The media tries to blow
things up like we're out there killing each other. We're family.
We're all brothers. ... We're a family, and we're still going to
try to win this thing.''

Making use of their considerable stockpile of talent, the
Blazers scorched the NBA's worst defensive team, shooting 54
percent in the first half before making a long succession of dunks
and open 3-pointers after halftime.

Wallace made seven straight shots in the second half, closing
the third quarter with a dramatic, one-handed alley-oop dunk as
Portland broke open a close game with a 20-3 run.

"He looked like he wanted the ball, and we tried to put it into
his hands,'' coach Maurice Cheeks said of Wallace, who rarely
speaks to reporters. "He got us going, scoring down low.''

The Timberwolves visit the Blazers on Sunday.

Jason Richardson had 24 points for the Warriors, who lost their
third in a row. It was Golden State's first home game since March
23, played in front of a near-sellout crowd at The Arena, but the
Warriors didn't seem to draw any energy from their enthusiastic
fans.

"We have to win every game for the rest of the year to try to
make the playoffs, and we come out and get beat by 20 at home -- that's embarrassing,'' said Troy Murphy, who had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Bob Sura scored 16 points for Golden State, but leading scorer
Antawn Jamison had just 12 points and Gilbert Arenas 11. The
Warriors are four games behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot
in the West, with Houston and Seattle also ahead of them in the
standings.

Coach Eric Musselman saw a slip in focus over the last few days, despite his nonstop motivational ploys, as well as the chance to contend for a playoff berth or to finish at .500 for the first time since 1994.

"We're paid to play 82 games and to practice during that time to be professionals,'' Musselman said. "Practices have not been good. It's something we still have time to address.''

At least the Warriors aren't punching each other in practice.

Randolph, who also missed Thursday's loss to Utah, was fined $100,000 in the Blazers' latest embarrassing escapade.

It was the teams' first meeting at The Arena since Portland's
113-111 victory on Dec. 20, in a game marred by a fight after
Wallace's game-winning jumper at the buzzer.

Damon Stoudamire had 14 points and 10 assists for Portland. Dale Davis had 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Anderson hit six 3-pointers -- most of them with no defender in sight.

Arenas, whose practice time is limited by back spasms, will be a
free agent after the season, and the Warriors have begun a push to
keep him in Oakland. They handed out several thousand placards
reading, "This is Gilbert's Arena!''

Game notes
On the opening possession of the second quarter, Warriors
rookie Mike Dunleavy incensed Musselman when he left Anderson open
for a 3-pointer -- so Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer on the other end. ...
There were 14 lead changes in the first quarter. ... Wells took a
scary fall in the second quarter when he jumped over Dunleavy to
try for a rebound. He stayed in the game.