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Last-second free throw wins game

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Darius Miles and the Portland Trail
Blazers can give some of the credit for their win over the Pistons
to Detroit coach Larry Brown.

In a show of sportsmanship, Brown pulled Miles away from
officials as he argued after drawing a technical in the first
quarter.

The move proved to be costly for Detroit.

With 0.5 seconds left, Miles converted a free throw to give the
Trail Blazers a 75-74 win over the Pistons.

Brown doesn't regret pulling Miles away from the officials.

"Why not?" said Brown when asked if he would do it again. "I
don't want to see him get ejected. He's a good kid."

Chauncey Billups tied the game with a 3-pointer with 7.8 seconds
left, but Ben Wallace was called for a foul after colliding with
Miles, who was driving to the basket.

Brown said the officials got the call right.

"It was a foul," he said. "It was unfortunate, because Ben
was trying to make a hustle play after someone lost Darius, but it
was a good call."

Miles missed the first shot free-throw attempt, but swished the
second.

"That was big pressure -- almost like a playoff game," Miles
said. "I just wanted to make one of them, but the crowd was going
nuts."

Rasheed Wallace's desperation shot at the buzzer bounced off the
top of the backboard.

Nick Van Exel and Damon Stoudamire led Portland with 14 points,
and Miles added 13.

"This is a big win," Stoudamire said. "To come in here and
beat Detroit, especially after playing last night, is big for us."

Rasheed Wallace had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Billups
finished with 16. Richard Hamilton scored 11, but missed 19 of 22
shots.

"They had Theo (Ratliff) in the middle, and I was trying to put
something extra on my shots to get them over him," Hamilton said.
"I always thought the next one was going in. You have to think
that."

Detroit trailed by as many as 15 in the second half and were
still down by nine early in the fourth quarter. The Pistons closed
within 65-64 with 7:01 left, helped by eight points from Antonio
McDyess.

Portland coach Maurice Cheeks wasn't surprised the Pistons hung
in.

"We were up 15, knowing they were going to come back," he
said. "They are the world champs, and there's a reason why. I give
them credit, but we did a good job to hold on for the win."

The Pistons took a 67-66 lead on a 3-pointer by Billups, but
couldn't pull away.

The game was tied at 69 with 39 seconds left when Rasheed
Wallace was whistled for fouling Ratliff on a dunk attempt. Ratliff
made one free throw, then got the rebound when Billups missed at
the other end.

Van Exel made a pair from the line, but fouled Billups on a
3-point attempt.

Billups missed the third free throw, however, and Detroit
trailed 72-71 with 20.4 seconds left.

Stoudamire was fouled and made two free throws to give Portland
a three-point lead.

Billups then hit his 3-pointer, but Portland did not call
timeout and got the ball to Miles. He drove as he caught the ball,
slamming into Wallace.

"Yeah, it was the right call," Wallace said.
^Notes:@ Portland played without Shareef-Abdur Rahim (elbow) for the
third straight game. ... Detroit got a scare when Ben Wallace
limped to the locker room in the last minute of the first half with
a sprained left ankle, but he returned for the second half. ...
Rasheed Wallace also picked up a technical for arguing a call. ...
Kid Rock attended the game and visited the Pistons locker room
afterward.

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