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Portland 103, Dallas 99
Blazers Force Game 6 with Fourth-Quarter Comeback

Scottie Pippen scored nine points off the bench in Game 5.
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DALLAS, April 30 (Ticker) -- Rasheed Wallace let his shooting do the talking.

Wallace's second-chance 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining lifted the Portland Trail Blazers to a 103-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks as they again staved off elimination in their Western Conference first-round series.

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The sixth-seeded Trail Blazers became the first team since the 2000 Philadelphia 76ers to win twice after losing the first three games of a best-of-seven matchup. They can even the series with a win at home Friday.

"We just hoopin'," Wallace said. "Bottom line, that's all we can say. We just hoopin'. Y'all (media) and a bunch of other people do the talking. We just got to go out here and keep doing what we're doing."

"Now we have a series," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "They are gaining momentum and we have to find a way to find a way to match that."

After Sunday's home win over Dallas kept alive Portland's season, Wallace - who regularly shuns the media - answered a series of questions with the phrase, "Both teams played hard." He also ducked reporters after Monday's practice and was fined $30,000 by the NBA.

Wallace was looking at five months of avoiding the media as Portland trailed, 98-94, with 2:38 remaining after a layup by Dirk Nowitzki, who led Dallas with 35 points and 11 rebounds.

But Zach Randolph made a lane jumper and the Blazers got back the ball. An inbounds play set up Wallace in the left corner for an open 3-pointer, which he missed. But the rebound bounced right back to him, and - with 23 seconds on the 24-second clock - he fired another that dropped to give Portland its first lead.

"We was playing hard. That's what the hell we was doing," Wallace said. "It was just shooting. It was a big shot. Just shooting."

The Blazers expected Wallace to put it right back up there.

"Rasheed is our go-to guy and no matter how he shot the ball, we always believe in him making his next shot," Portland guard Scottie Pippen said. "If he misses that shot, it's probably not a good shot. But he made it and it was a great shot."

"That's a normal shot for him. That's what he takes," guard Damon Stoudamire added. "The ball came back to him and he knocked that down. We got a break. We haven't gotten breaks all year, but we got a break tonight."

Ruben Patterson blocked a layup by Eduardo Najera and Randolph made two free throws for a 101-98 advantage with 39 seconds to go.

As Nowitzki was splitting a pair of free throws seven seconds later, Portland coach Maurice Cheeks inserted the 7-3 Arvydas Sabonis. The move panned out as Sabonis tipped in a miss by Bonzi Wells to seal it with 10 seconds left. It was his only basket of the game.

Randolph scored 22 points and Wallace added 10 of his 14 in the fourth quarter as the Blazers beat the Mavericks at a bit of their own game. They trailed by nine points midway through the final period but drained four 3-pointers.

Portland also got an emotional lift from Pippen, who has been nursing a knee injury and played for just the second time in the series. In 16 minutes off the bench, he had nine points and five assists and made a big 3-pointer down the stretch.

"Scottie Pippen was a big factor in the game, even though he played limited minutes," Nelson said. "He was able to guard and his length has always given us problems."

"I feel like we have some momentum right now," said Pippen, who played for the first time since Game One. "We have been able to stretch this series out the way we wanted to. Now we have an opportunity to go back home and defend our home court and push this series to the limit. Right now, we have a lot of confidence we can do that."

Nick Van Exel scored 25 points and Michael Finley added 15 for the Mavericks, whose once-deep rotation is down to seven players. Van Exel and Eduardo Najera were the only reserves used by Nelson.

"This is no time to panic now," Nowitzki said. "We already won one up there in Portland. What we are trying to do again is go up there and steal another one. We'll see."

Although Dallas never trailed until the waning moments, it never could pull away. Nowitzki and Van Exel carried the offense, and the Mavs scored eight of the final 10 points of the third quarter to take a 77-71 lead into the final period.

A 3-pointer by Van Exel and turnaround jumper by Nowitzki gave Dallas a 92-83 lead before Portland rallied. Pippen had a 3-pointer and layup around a jumper by Nowitzki, and Wallace's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 94-91 with 4:01 left.

Nowitzki made two free throws, but Wells made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 96-94 with 3:23 remaining.

Damon Stoudamire scored 19 points, Wells added 15 and Dale Davis 10 for the Blazers, who shot 45 percent (39-of-86) and dominated on the glass, 48-32. Randolph had nine rebounds and the 5-10 Stoudamire, Wells and Davis swept eight apiece.

"Everyone that comes out there is starting to rebound the ball," Cheeks said. "We get rebounds from our guards, we get rebounds from our big guys. That's really the difference right now; we have been able to rebound the ball."

Dallas shot 49 percent (36-of-73) and made 24-of-29 free throws. Mavs All-Star guard Steve Nash, who is nursing a hip injury, handed out 11 assists but scored just seven points on 2-of-11 shooting.

"When Nash gets banged up, his shot seems to go," Nelson said. "He is a little nicked up. Everyone is."



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