Friday , Mar , 05 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Rasheed’s homecoming a success

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – Rasheed Wallace had 13 points and nine
rebounds in his return to Portland to help the Detroit Pistons to an easy
83-68 win over the Trail Blazers.

Wallace, who spent seven-plus years in Portland, was traded to Atlanta on
February 10. The Hawks then sent Wallace to the Pistons as part of a three-way
deal right before the trading deadline.

Ben Wallace scored 12 points, blocked four shots and pulled down 19 rebounds
for Detroit. Chauncey Billups netted a game-high 16 points, while Corliss
Williamson added 14 for the Pistons, who have won five of their last six
games.

“He told us it wasn’t anything special, he just wanted to win,” Ben Wallace
said about Rasheed. “He plays well on defense, he blocks shots and he can
knock down shots. He gets out in the open court, he rebounds and he’s exactly
what our team needed. He’s made our team better.”

Detroit was also without the services of leading scorer Richard Hamilton, who
underwent surgery for a broken nose on Tuesday.

Portland had just two players in double figures on the way to its lowest
scoring output of the season. Zach Randolph paced the team with 11 and Shareef
Abdur-Rahim had 10. The Blazers lost for the fourth time in a row after a
dreadful 25-of-73 shooting performance (34 percent).

“They beat us in every aspect of the game. They dominated from start to
finish,” said Blazers head coach Maurice Cheeks. “It’s one of the best
defensive teams in the league and you really have to have an offensive flow to
beat them. Their whole team played well overall, not just one individual, and
we just didn’t.”

The Blazers fell behind early thanks to 14 missed shots and Billups recorded
seven points, including a layup with two seconds left, en route to a 27-16
first-quarter lead.

Detroit notched 14-of-20 points over a 7 1/2-minute span to establish a 43-26
advantage with about two minutes to play before halftime. Rasheed Wallace
tallied eight consecutive points during the run against his former team and
led all scorers with 11 at the half.

The Pistons were up 46-29 at the break. Portland’s shooting woes continued as
it made just 31.6 percent of shots (12-of-38). The 29 points were a season low
for the Blazers in the first half.

Detroit scored five straight out of the halftime gates to take its biggest
lead of the night, 22 points, at 51-29.

Portland scored six straight points to close within 16 at 57-41 with 3:13
left, but the Pistons were probably more worried about their head coach at
that point. Larry Brown, bothered by back problems of late, headed for the
locker room for treatment, giving way to assistant Mike Woodson for the second
game in row.

After three quarters, Detroit led comfortably with a 64-43 margin.

Qyntel Woods netted eight points in the final quarter to help the Blazers
narrow the gap to 13 points with under two minutes left, but it was too
little, too late.

“We had no offensive flow and no defensive flow from the outset,” Cheeks
added. “I don’t know how to explain it. The sense of urgency that we need as
we fight for a playoff berth was not there. But we can’t allow it to be
devastating.”

Portland’s previous season-low production came in a 78-71 loss to Detroit on
December 31.

DET POR