Final

Dallas wins series 4-3 (Game 4 of 7)

Dallas wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Trail Blazers86Final
Mavericks96
Game 2: Wednesday, April 23rd
Trail Blazers99Final
Mavericks103
Game 3: Friday, April 25th
Mavericks115Final
Trail Blazers103
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Mavericks79Final
Trail Blazers98
Game 5: Wednesday, April 30th
Trail Blazers103Final
Mavericks99
Game 6: Friday, May 2nd
Mavericks103Final
Trail Blazers125
Game 7: Sunday, May 4th
Trail Blazers95Final
Mavericks107

Trail Blazers 98

(50-32, 27-14 home)

    5:00 PM ET, April 27, 2003

    Moda Center, Portland, OR

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 23 29 10 1779
    POR 26 23 33 1698

    Top Performers

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 26 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Por: Z. Randolph 25 Pts, 15 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Blazers end 10-game playoff losing skid

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- When the game was over and the Trail Blazers had avoided another playoff sweep, Portland coach Maurice Cheeks sat alone on the bench grinning ear-to-ear.

    The Trail Blazers snapped a 10-game postseason losing streak with a 98-78 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

    Cheeks earned his first playoff win as a head coach after six losses.

    "You have no idea how important it is to get that victory,'' he said later, still smiling.

    Without injured stars Scottie Pippen, Derek Anderson and Arvydas Sabonis, the Trail Blazers rallied to send the series back to Dallas for Game 5. Zach Randolph had 25 points and 15 rebounds while Damon Stoudamire had 17 points and 11 assists.

    "What went right? We made shots and they didn't make shots,'' Cheeks said.

    The victory snapped Portland's 10-game playoff losing streak which dated back to Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    But no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series, and the Mavericks haven't lost four in a row all season.

    After trailing 52-49 at the break, the Blazers had a 21-0 run in the third quarter and went on to lead by as many as 24 points.

    Randolph tied it at 54 with a layup at 8:52 of the third quarter, and Rasheed Wallace hit a go-ahead 3-pointer before Randolph added a jumper to make it 59-54.

    Randolph's slam dunk and layup made it 67-58 before Stoudamire's fast break layup and free throw put the Blazers ahead 70-58.

    The already hurting Blazers got a scare was on their next possession when center Dale Davis was poked in the left eye by Eduardo Najera on a layup. After hitting the foul shot, Davis retreated to the locker room.

    He later returned to watch from the bench as the Blazers continued to build on their lead. The Mavericks' 10 points in the third quarter was a team playoff-low.

    "Third period, I don't know what to tell you. I was very disappointed with our performance,'' Mavs coach Don Nelson said. "We just didn't have much life out there for whatever reason. We were outhustled and outplayed and outeverythinged in the third quarter.

    "In the fourth quarter I decided that we should probably wait for another day.''

    Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who lacked intensity for the first time in the series.

    "We ruined a great opportunity,'' said Dallas guard Steve Nash. "Luckily we've got another one on Wednesday.''

    Before the game started, it didn't look good for the Blazers.

    Pippen again watched from the bench in street clothes, still bothered by pain in his surgically repaired left knee.

    Sabonis, the team's 7-foot-3 Lithuanian reserve center who provided an offensive spark coming off the bench in Game 3, had back spasms and did not dress.

    Portland had already lost starting guard Anderson three minutes into Game 2 with torn cartilage in his left knee. Anderson had surgery on Saturday.

    The Blazers dressed just nine players, but came out surprisingly strong.

    Dallas jumped out to an early 10-4 lead but Portland went on a 10-2 run to go up 14-12 on Bonzi Wells' 3-pointer. The Blazers held on to the lead until midway through the second quarter, when Raef LaFrentz hit on a layup to put Dallas in front 38-36.

    Portland moved back into a 42-41 lead on Wallace's turnaround jumper, and Wells followed up with another 3-pointer.

    Nowitzki answered with six straight points, including four straight free throws, and the Mavericks went on to lead 52-49 at the half on Nick Van Exel's buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

    "This was every disappointing. We were right there at halftime, but when we came out in the third quarter, we couldn't get anything to go in,'' Van Exel said.

    Pippen was uncertain whether he could play on Wednesday. He was more optimistic about the Blazers' chances in the series.

    "A lot of guys really laid it all out tonight,'' he said. "I know that it's never been down before (coming back after a 3-0 deficit), but there's always a first time.''

    Game notes


    The Blazers' postseason problems have fueled speculation that Cheeks may be fired if Portland is knocked out of the first round for the third straight year. "It crossed my mind,'' Cheeks said at practice. "If it is, I'm a realist. I take things as they come.'' ... Center Shawn Bradley, who had a sore back after Friday's game, stayed in the Mavs' starting lineup. ... Nowitzki had 17 points in the second quarter alone. ... Portland had 16 free throw attempts in the first quarter, then none in the second. ... Portland outscored Dallas 33-10 in the third quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DAL
    POR
    Points 79 98
    FGM-FGA 31-83 (.373) 31-75 (.413)
    3PM-3PA 5-20 (.250) 6-15 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 12-13 (.923) 30-42 (.714)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-44 8-43
    Assists 18 24
    Turnovers 15 8
    Steals 6 9
    Blocks 6 2
    Fast Break Points 1 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (2/0) 19 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Dallas
    Portland
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 26
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Zach Randolph Randolph
    Points: 25
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1