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Trail Blazers Continue Comeback, Force Game 7

May 03, 2003|From Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers moved one step away from making NBA history -- becoming the first team to successfully come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.

The Trail Blazers scored 37 points in the second quarter and 64 in the first half, opening a huge lead that held up as they pounded the Dallas Mavericks, 125-103, Friday night to force a decisive Game 7 in their first-round Western Conference series.

The Trail Blazers have become just the third team in league history to force a Game 7 after losing the first three games of a series. The others were the Denver Nuggets against the Utah Jazz in 1994 and the New York Knicks against the Rochester Royals in 1951.

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

Maverick guard Steve Nash, who didn't score in Game 4 and had just seven points in Game 5, had 21 points and six assists.

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

Trail Blazer guard Scottie Pippen, who sat out three games of the series because of 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 Trail Blazers up, 95-63.

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, made a three-point shot and held his finger up as if to indicate it would be the first of many.

The Mavericks went up, 18-11, in the first quarter on Michael Finley's 17-foot jumper, but the Trail Blazers rallied with a 12-3 run to go up 23-22 on Sabonis' slam dunk.

Portland went on a 23-5 run to take a 46-27 lead on Patterson's layup.

Dale Davis of Portland suffered a groin strain in the first half and left the game. The injury was not believed serious.

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