AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 18 (Ticker) --
Statistically, Darius Miles
is a poor free-throw shooter. But he came through when his team
needed him most.
Miles swished in a foul shot with five-tenths of a second
remaining to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 75-74 victory
over the Detroit Pistons after blowing a 15-point second-half
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After Chauncey Billups
drained game-tying 3-pointer with 7.8
seconds remaining, Miles - a 60 percent shooter from the line -
dribbled toward the lane and drew a blocking foul from Ben Wallace
. He missed the first but coolly made the second.
"There was big pressure - like a playoff game," Miles said. "I
just wanted to make at least one of them. The crowd was going
nuts when I was shooting them."
Once they saw the replay, the Pistons agreed with the official's
"It was a foul," Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "It was
unfortunate. Ben was trying to make a hustle play. He did the
right thing, but then Miles crossed the lane. It's just one of
"It was the right call," Wallace said.
's last-second 20-footer hit the top of the
backboard. The ex-Trail Blazer scored 17 points but just two in
the second half.
Portland built a 57-42 advantage with 4:05 left in the third
quarter on a jumper by Miles, who scored 13 points. But Detroit
rallied to take a 67-66 lead on another 3-pointer by Billups
with 4:33 to go. Billups scored 16 points.
"We had a chance of putting this game away many times, but I
knew they were going to make a run because they're the world
champs," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "They always think
they're in the game. They have guys who make shots to put them
back into the game. I give them credit, but we did a good job
tonight holding on for the win."
"We should have had this one wrapped up tightly, but they made a
sizable run and got back into it," Miles said. "I give them a
lot of credit. It was a fun game. We played hard and so did
After come-from-behind wins against New York and Cleveland
earlier this week, the Pistons could not overcome 32 percent
(29-of-92) shooting, the lowest surrendered by the Trail Blazers
"It was a big win," said Damon Stoudamire
, who came off the
bench for the second straight game after starting 104 in a row.
"Detroit has been playing good ball lately, and to come in here
and beat them tonight, especially after playing last night, is
big for us. It really motivates us and keeps us going. This
win will give us some much-needed confidence."
Detroit's Richard Hamilton
had a dreadful game, missing his
first 11 shots from the field and finishing 3-of-22 for just 11
"I kept saying, 'The next one's gonna fall,' but it didn't,"
Hamilton said. "That's how you have to approach it. If one
doesn't fall, the next one will."
Billups also struggled for the Pistons, making just 5-of-15
"When your shots aren't falling, you start to second-guess
yourself," he said. "You pass up a shot to make a pass, then you
wind up taking a worse shot than the first one."
"I thought we did a good job chasing them, making them shoot and
contesting all of their shots," Stoudamire said. "That's all
you can do to those guys. They play so well together. It's rare
that you can hold both of those guys to bad shooting nights on
the same night."
The Pistons stayed in the game on the strength of a 56-33
rebounding advantage, including 25-6 on the offensive glass.
The point guard rotation of Stoudamire and Nick Van Exel
14 points apiece for Portland, which has won six of the last
seven meetings in Detroit.