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Dixon, subbing for Hughes, has 30 in loss

1/26/2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three technical fouls are easier to take when
a team shoots 65 percent in the first half.

The Portland Trail Blazers were true to their bad-boy reputation
Monday night, but Damon Stoudamire was true enough with his 3-point
shot to lead a 94-83 victory over the Washington Wizards.

"In a close game, three technical fouls could come down to hurt
you," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We can't afford to
have technical fouls on the road."

Dale Davis said something to an official after picking up three
quick fouls. Ruben Patterson threw a ball at Steve Blake. Rasheed
Wallace made an animated gesture, with perhaps a word or two added
in, after a big basket.

But those three antics didn't stunt Portland's performance at
all. Stoudamire hit six 3-pointers, accounting for all 18 of his
points, and added a season-high 11 assists. Wallace and Zach
Randolph added 16 points apiece. Darius Miles scored 10 points, all
in the first half, in his second game -- and first start -- since
being traded from Cleveland last week.

Portland also played as a team, getting 30 assists on its 38
field goals, to start a three-game road trip by winning for only
the second time in eight games.

"The focus was on not just trying to score by yourself, but by
putting the ball in the post," Cheeks said. "And we got a lot of
balls thrown out of the post to score the basketball. That's where
our game opened up. That's what made us."

Juan Dixon, starting because of an injury to Larry Hughes,
scored a career-high 30 points for the Wizards and singlehandedly
tried to bring his team back in the second half. He scored 18 of 20
Washington points to help cut an 18-point third-quarter deficit to
three with 4:30 remaining.

But the Wizards made only one basket the rest of the game. Dixon
and Jarvis Hayes missed jumpers, Brendan Haywood missed one of two
free throws, and Blake missed a layup. Derek Anderson's 3-pointer
from right wing with 1:47 to play steadied the Trail Blazers by
pushing the lead back to seven.

"It's so tough getting down that many points and having to
scramble and work double-time to get back into the game," said
Kwame Brown, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds and a tied a
career-high with five assists for the Wizards. "Fortunately, we
did that, but we just didn't have enough fire power to get over the
hump."

The Wizards, who had won three straight at home, played without
leading scorer Hughes, who has been troubled with tendinitis in his
right knee and could miss more games during the current homestand.
Washington is already missing guards Jerry Stackhouse and Gilbert
Arenas, leaving Brevin Knight and Dixon to start Monday,

"There's no question," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "I
would be a better coach with Gilbert and Stack and Larry on the
floor."

The Trail Blazers made 10 of their first 11 shots -- and were
just getting warmed up. Miles started the scoring with a
three-point play and a layup, and 76-percent first-quarter shooting
built a 31-26 lead.

Stoudamire, 6-of-8 from 3-point range, made all three of his
long-range attempts in the second quarter. He had 12 points and 10
assists in the first half, and Portland led 57-41 at the break.

The third quarter regressed into long stretches of run-and-gun
streetball, with sloppy ball-handling and missed easy shots. Dixon
provided a spark at the end of the quarter, taking the ball inside
to score seven straight Wizards points to close the deficit to
74-62 going into the fourth.

Game notes
Jordan said "no comment" before anyone could ask him
about the firing Monday of his former boss, New Jersey coach Byron
Scott. Jordan was Scott's assistant for two in New Jersey. Asked
how Scott's firing puts a premium on winning, Jordan said: "That's
the only thing is winning. Even when you win, you should win with
class." ... The entire upper bowl was empty as fans decided not to
risk traveling through a snow and ice storm that hit the nation's
capital.