Trail Blazers 75, Pistons 74

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—Darius Miles and the Portland Trail Blazers can give some of the credit for their win over the Pistons to Detroit coach Larry Brown.

In a show of sportsmanship, Brown pulled Miles away from officials as he argued after drawing a technical in the first quarter.

The move proved to be costly for Detroit.

With 0.5 seconds left, Miles converted a free throw to give the Trail Blazers a 75-74 win over the Pistons.

Brown doesn’t regret pulling Miles away from the officials.

“Why not?” said Brown when asked if he would do it again. “I don’t want to see him get ejected. He’s a good kid.”

Chauncey Billups tied the game with a 3-pointer with 7.8 seconds left, but Ben Wallace was called for a foul after colliding with Miles, who was driving to the basket.

Brown said the officials got the call right.

“It was a foul,” he said. “It was unfortunate, because Ben was trying to make a hustle play after someone lost Darius, but it was a good call.”

Miles missed the first shot free-throw attempt, but swished the second.

“That was big pressure—almost like a playoff game,” Miles said. “I just wanted to make one of them, but the crowd was going nuts.”

Rasheed Wallace’s desperation shot at the buzzer bounced off the top of the backboard.

Nick Van Exel and Damon Stoudamire led Portland with 14 points, and Miles added 13.

“This is a big win,” Stoudamire said. “To come in here and beat Detroit, especially after playing last night, is big for us.”

Rasheed Wallace had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Billups finished with 16. Richard Hamilton scored 11, but missed 19 of 22 shots.

“They had Theo (Ratliff) in the middle, and I was trying to put something extra on my shots to get them over him,” Hamilton said. “I always thought the next one was going in. You have to think that.”

Detroit trailed by as many as 15 in the second half and were still down by nine early in the fourth quarter. The Pistons closed within 65-64 with 7:01 left, helped by eight points from Antonio McDyess.

Portland coach Maurice Cheeks wasn’t surprised the Pistons hung in.

“We were up 15, knowing they were going to come back,” he said. “They are the world champs, and there’s a reason why. I give them credit, but we did a good job to hold on for the win.”

The Pistons took a 67-66 lead on a 3-pointer by Billups, but couldn’t pull away.

The game was tied at 69 with 39 seconds left when Rasheed Wallace was whistled for fouling Ratliff on a dunk attempt. Ratliff made one free throw, then got the rebound when Billups missed at the other end.

Van Exel made a pair from the line, but fouled Billups on a 3-point attempt.

Billups missed the third free throw, however, and Detroit trailed 72-71 with 20.4 seconds left.

Stoudamire was fouled and made two free throws to give Portland a three-point lead.

Billups then hit his 3-pointer, but Portland did not call timeout and got the ball to Miles. He drove as he caught the ball, slamming into Wallace.

“Yeah, it was the right call,” Wallace said.

Notes

Portland played without Shareef-Abdur Rahim (elbow) for the third straight game. … Detroit got a scare when Ben Wallace limped to the locker room in the last minute of the first half with a sprained left ankle, but he returned for the second half. … Rasheed Wallace also picked up a technical for arguing a call. … Kid Rock attended the game and visited the Pistons locker room afterward.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Portland
N. Van Exel N. Van Exel
4-10,  14 Pts
6 Rebs, 8 Assists
 Detroit
R. Wallace R. Wallace
7-19,  17 Pts
12 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists