DALLAS The Portland Trail Blazers are trying to carve a new image: The never-say-die underdogs.
The Blazers, faced with the daunting prospect of trying to win four straight elimination games, rode the return of Scottie Pippen to a 103-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night to get within 3-2 in their first-round series.
Despite not leading for the first 46 minutes, 55 seconds, the Blazers didn't give up. That attitude was typified by Rasheed Wallace, who didn't flinch after leaving a 3-pointer short.
The rebound came right to him, and Wallace nailed a second try from nearly the same spot to put Portland up 99-98 with 1:05 left. The Blazers led the rest of the way, sending the series back to Portland for Game 6 Friday night and continuing their quest to become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 deficit.
We're just hooping it up, nothing else,'' said Wallace, who scored 18. Y'all wrote us off. We're the only cats that believe. We're going to keep doing what we're doing.''
The Mavericks have to figure out how a series that was going so right has gone so wrong, so fast and how to stop it.
Hornets 93, 76ers 91
PHILADELPHIA George Lynch scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and had two key steals, helping the New Orleans Hornets avoid elimination with a 93-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
The Sixers lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. Game 6 is Friday night in New Orleans.
Jamal Mashburn returned after missing two games with a broken right middle finger to score 21, and Jamaal Magloire had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Allen Iverson led Philadelphia with 30 and Keith Van Horn added 21.
Pistons 98, Magic 67
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Richard Hamilton was one of six Pistons in double figures with 24 points, and Detroit held Tracy McGrady to 19.
Orlando, the eighth-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, leads the best-of-seven series 3-2. Game 6 is Friday night.
The Pistons are hoping to become just the seventh team and the first since Miami in 1997 to win a series after trailing 3-1.
Detroit rookie Tayshaun Prince scored a career-high 15 points and matched a career-high with six rebounds.
Ben Wallace had 14 points and 21 rebounds, Chauncey Billups scored 15, Mehmet Okur 11 and Jon Barry 10.
The Magic never led and made just 32 percent of their shots.
Kings 111, Jazz 91
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Chris Webber had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Peja Stojakovic scored 22 points as the Kings advanced to the second round of the playoffs, winning the series in five games.
It was a fairly unremarkable victory for the deeper, more talented Kings, who never trailed while forcing their up-tempo style on the Jazz. Bobby Jackson had 18 points and six assists for Sacramento, which will face the winner of the Dallas-Portland series in the conference semifinals.
But the game probably will turn out to be a historic one. It might have been the final 48 minutes in the partnership between John Stockton and Karl Malone.
Malone finished with 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting, and Stockton had eight points in 28 minutes. Sloan removed them simultaneously with 5:01 left and the Arco Arena fans gave them a lengthy, emotional standing ovation.
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