Portland 102, Detroit 94

I said, "Post-Sonic add: Detroit started fast, almost ran Seattle off the court, then gave it back, letting Seattle tie it with about 2:35 left in the game. Seattle, however, could not finish. Portland can because they have the talent in Roy, Aldridge and Webster to create the easy scoring opportunities they need to at the end of the game. I don't think Billups and Prince will both have the bad games they had against Seattle, but neither will Hamilton have the transcendent game.Portland should win this one, but it will be a close game."

So let's go to the scoreboard.
Early on, Detroit rode a 14-6 run that, except for a late 3 by Outlaw, would have given them an 8 point lead after one. The clutch shot by Travis, however, left it a reasonable 5 point deficit. Aldridge and Webster played well, combining for 11 points while Billups scored steadily and Wallace hit three late 3s and a deuce to give him a monster 11 point quarter on his own.

Portland outscored the Pistons by 2 in the second period led by 10 from Jarrett Jack and even Przybilla got in on the action, pitching in 6 points. The 53-50 half-time score was encouraging for Portland fans as Roy and Webster had yet to get going but Aldridge, Jack, and Outlaw were all having strong games.

The third quarter was all about the Blazer stars as Aldridge and Roy each scored 10 points in the quarter...the rest of the team combined for 8. Meanwhile, Portland put on the clamps on defense, holding the Pistons to 21 points after 27 and 27 in the first 2. Entering the 4th quarter it was all tied at 74.

The 4th quarter, the Blazers and the Pistons traded the lead for 3 minutes with 4 lead changes in that span. Portland took over with a 12-4 run that the Pistons never recovered from, never closing closer than 3 points with a shade over 2 minutes to go. Down the stretch the Blazers played tough defense and made 6 of 8 free throws to close out the game with an 8 point victory to go 4 - 3 on the season.

It was a great victory over a tough, talented team. They outscored a good Pistons bench 48 - 23 and their big guns for the most part played well. Aldridge hit 22 points and 10 rebounds against a tough defender in Rasheed Wallace and did it on solid 9-16 shooting while Roy added 20 points on an identical 9-16. Webster struggled again but he will get back on track soon.

This was a great, great home stand for the Blazers. They knocked off a formerly undefeated Hornet team most people have slotted for the playoffs, defeated title contender Dallas, handily beat the team they should (Memphis) and knocked off a strong Pistons team that had lost but 1 game previously. Well done, and let's keep the excitement rolling.

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