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Blazers can make history with one more win

5/3/2003

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers not only have
momentum. They're confident, too, of their chances of making NBA
history.

After pounding the Dallas Mavericks 125-103 Friday night to
force a decisive Game 7 in the their first round playoff series,
someone scrawled a bold comment in the locker room.

"Pac for Sac,'' it said on the memo board. Meaning Sacramento.

With a win in Game 7 Sunday, the Blazers would become the first
team in NBA history to overcome an 0-3 deficit in a best-of seven
series. Portland would then head straight to Sacramento to get
ready for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the
Kings.

With Friday's win in Portland, the Blazers became just the third
team in league history to force a Game 7 after losing the first
three. The others were Denver against Utah in 1994 and New York
against Rochester in 1951.

"Once you get down 0-3, it's kind of tough. Some teams would
maybe want to give up,'' forward Bonzi Wells said. "But we just
told ourselves if we take it one game at a time, why can't it be
us? Why don't we be the team to make history?''

Zach Randolph had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Ruben Patterson
scored 20, Bonzi Wells added 18 and Arvydas Sabonis had 16 for the
Blazers, who led by as many as 32 and had six players in double
figures.

Mavs guard Steve Nash, who didn't score in Game 4 and had just
seven points in Game 5, had 21 points and six assists for the
visibly stunned Mavericks.

Dirk Nowitzki, who has four double-doubles in the series, had
just four points. Both he and Nash went to the bench in the third
quarter and watched dejectedly the rest of the way.

Afterward, Nash's focus turned to Game 7.

"For me, I think we just need to believe,'' he said. "We go in
Sunday and we believe in ourselves and we battle with our backs
against the wall. There is no question in my mind we can win that
game.''

Blazers guard Scottie Pippen, who missed three games of the
series with a sore left knee but guided the offense to a 103-99
victory in Game 5, did not start but was suited up on Portland's
bench.

When he finally made an appearance with 1:42 left in the third
quarter, Pippen drew some of the loudest applause of the night --
and he responded with a 10-foot jumper that put the Blazers up
95-63, drawing even more enthusiastic cheers.

Pippen said he had personal reasons for wanting to come in, even
though the Blazers had a huge lead.

"I didn't want a DNP-CD,'' said Pippen, referring to the
acronym for Did Not Play-Coach's Decision. "I wanted to get out
there and get a couple of minutes in and try to get a little
rhythm.''

The Mavericks came out with the energy expected of a team one
win away from advancing. Nash, perhaps eager to show that his
scoring slump was over, opened with a 3-pointer and held his finger
up as if say it was the first of many.

The Mavs went up 18-11 in the first quarter on Michael Finley's
17-foot jumper, but it wouldn't last.

"The bottom fell out after that, and it wasn't much of a
game,'' coach Don Nelson said.

The Blazers rallied with a 12-3 run to take a 23-22 lead on
Sabonis' slam dunk, then

Portland went on to outscore the Mavs 23-5 to take a 46-27 lead
on Patterson's fast-break layup -- and the Blazers' bench went wild.

Portland did suffer a blow in the first half when center Dale Davis suddenly came up limping while running down the floor. Davis
went to the locker room and was later reported to have a strained
groin. He did not return, but the injury was not believed to be
serious.

Game notes
The Mavs have not lost four straight since March 2000,
which is what it would take to lose the series. ... Portland guard
Derek Anderson, who injured his left knee in Game 2 and required
arthroscopic surgery, lightly worked out with the team at Friday
morning's shootaround. He had no noticeable limp, but a visible
scar on the knee. ... Dallas is just 10-46 at the Rose Garden. The
Mavs won Game 3 against the Trail Blazers in Portland, but before
that they had lost 13 of 15. ... In attendance was Carmelo Anthony,
who recently declared himself eligible for the NBA draft after
leading Syracuse to its first NCAA title.