"Go to work," McMillan said, singling out Travis Outlaw during Portland's final timeout.
Outlaw followed his coach's instructions, and hit a fadeaway jumper with 8.9 seconds left to give the Blazers an 84-83 victory over the Pistons on Wednesday night.
The loss snapped Detroit's seven-game winning streak.
"It was there," Outlaw said.
Portland, which trailed by 14 points, went ahead 79-75 with 5:37 left on Steve Blake's 3-pointer. The Blazers led until Tayshaun Prince's layup with 2:54 left tied it at 79, and Detroit went ahead on Allen Iverson's layup.
After LaMarcus Aldridge hit just one of two free throws to cut it to 81-80 with 1:35 to go, Kwame Brown's dunk put Detroit ahead 83-80. Outlaw made a hook shot to keep Portland close.
Iverson missed a layup with 22.9 seconds to go before Outlaw hit his fadeaway, and then missed a jumper with 3.9 seconds left, ending the NBA's longest current winning streak.
"I got a good look and it just didn't go down," Iverson said. "I struggled all game. Even the ones I felt were good didn't go down."
Aldridge led the Blazers with 26 points, while Blake had 10 points and 10 assists. Outlaw finished with 14 points.
"Travis has made many, may big shots for us, and I'm sure he'll make many more," Aldridge said.
Prince finished with 26 points for Detroit, and Iverson had 14. Rodney Stuckey added 13 points, but had a season-high six turnovers.
"The things that we needed to go right at the end of the game went all wrong," Iverson said. "We made a bunch of mistakes and it cost us."
The Pistons, coming off an 88-87 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, were without center Rasheed Wallace, who missed his third straight game because of a sore right foot. Guard Richard Hamilton missed his sixth straight game with a groin injury.
The Blazers were without All-Star guard Brandon Roy for the fourth straight game. Roy, averaging 23 points, has a sprained right hamstring.
Portland has dropped its last two games without Roy, including a 100-86 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
"This was real big," Outlaw said. "We need to keep building confidence so when Brandon comes back it will be that much easier."
Detroit led by as many as 14 points in the first half, but the Blazers showed energy just before the break when Rudy Fernandez's steal and dunk and Blake's 3-pointer narrowed it to 48-42.
The Pistons led it by 56-45 early in the second half, but Iverson got frustrated by two consecutive misses from the floor and a traveling call.
The Blazers trimmed the Pistons' lead to 60-54 on Aldridge's dunk. They got even closer when rookie Jerryd Bayless dunked to make it 64-62.
Outlaw and Sergio Rodriguez each made layups to start the fourth quarter to put Portland ahead for the first time, 69-68. It was short-lived, however, and Detroit went back in front on Arron Affalo's 3-pointer.
Wallace played for the Blazers from 1996-2004 and was part of the so-called "Jail Blazers" team that became more known for trouble off the court than for success on it. He had a particular disdain for the Portland media, and often replied to questions with the pat response: "Both teams played hard." ... Earlier this season, the Blazers beat the Pistons 96-85 in Detroit. Aldridge had 27 points. The Blazers swept the series with Detroit for the first time since the 2002-03 season. ... Portland has won six games after trailing in the fourth quarter. ... It was Blake's second double-double of the season.