The Blazers fended off elimination in the National Basketball Association Western Conference finals with a 96-88 victory, narrowing the gap with their opponents to 3-2 in the best of seven series in Los Angeles Tuesday and forcing game six in Portland on Friday.
Scottie Pippen scored 22 points in a terrific all-around performance.
Pippen, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, made 8-of-12 shots, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. He added six rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals. Most of that came after he took a tumble late in the first quarter and dislocated two fingers on his left hand.
The Blazers never trailed, jumping out to an early lead for the third straight game. Unlike the previous two games in Portland, when the Blazers suffered through second-half collapses, Portland surged in the third quarter and at least temporarily denied Los Angeles their first trip to the NBA Finals in nine years.
Rasheed Wallace added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers.
PIPPEN FINED $10,000
Portland Trail Blazers forward Scottie Pippen was fined $10,000 by the National Basketball Association Tuesday for hitting Los Angeles Lakers center John Salley with his forearm in Game Four of the Western Conference finals.
NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Rod Thorn announced the penalty. With 52 seconds remaining in Los Angeles' 103-91 victory on Sunday, Pippen hit Salley with a forearm to the back of the head as play moved up court.
No foul was called and Pippen was not suspended. He was involved in a shoving match with Lakers forward Rick Fox in Game Three, with both players receiving technical fouls, and has been trash-talking with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant throughout the series - (AFP)
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