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Blazers' late 15-0 run is too much for Clippers

12/19/2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Scottie Pippen's seen it all before, of
course, so there was no panic when his team was down by 14 early in
the fourth quarter.

Pippen, Bonzi Wells and Rasheed Wallace led the comeback as the
Portland Trail Blazers rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 97-93 Wednesday night.

"It was just a matter of time for us to close the gap,'' said
Pippen, who made a pair of 3-pointers to start a late 15-0 run and
finished with 11 points.

"When we got the lead, they lost some of their poise. It's
tougher to keep a lead than it is to get it.''

Bonzi Wells scored 30 points for the second consecutive game as
Portland won for the sixth time in eight games.

Wallace added 19 points and Trail Blazers reserve Jeff McInnis
added 17 points in 17 minutes against his former team.

"Even though we were down 14, our guys still plugged away, took
it one basket at a time, kind of ground it out,'' Wells said.
"Everyone is playing well. I don't care if somebody scores 30 or
40 in one night, it still takes a team to win.''

Portland trailed 81-67 with 11:15 remaining, but the Trail
Blazers went on a 15-0 run that began with 6:24 remaining and
carried them to a 92-87 lead with 1:15 left.

The Clippers went scoreless for 5:33 of the quarter until Andre
Miller made two free throws with 1:09 remaining.

Miller led the Clippers with 25 points and Quentin Richardson
added 24, going 5-of-9 from 3-point range.

"We had a 14-point lead and the way we finished the game was
bad,'' said the Clippers' Elton Brand, who was held to 10 points
and four rebounds. "Scottie Pippen hit some big threes and Jeff
McInnis made some good shots.''

Los Angeles coach Alvin Gentry, who has watched his team blow a
string of late leads this season, said, "We played great
basketball, beautiful basketball up until the fourth quarter. It's
a shame because everybody's just going to remember that stretch
where we just couldn't score.

"When we get to that point of the game, we've got to start
executing.''

Wells drove the lane all alone for a layup that pulled Portland
to 87-84. After Los Angeles' Marko Jaric threw up an airball, Wells
hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 4:45 remaining.

Wallace made a free throw to give the Trail Blazers an 88-87
lead with 2:45 remaining, and they led the rest of the way.

Richardson's tip-in put the Clippers up 73-60 with three minutes
left in the third quarter, their biggest lead to that point. They
led 77-67 heading into the fourth.

Game notes
Portland G Damon Stoudamire missed his second straight game
after an illness forced him to sit out the second half against
Minnesota on Saturday. ... Los Angeles G Eric Piatkowski missed his
fourth game with a lower abdominal strain. ... Brand blocked three
shots and is the only player in the NBA averaging as many three
blocks a game, leading the league with a 3.16 average. ... Wells
matched his season-high set in Tuesday's 102-93 victory over New
Orleans.