Report on Pistons, Rodman and Bulls, D3

Buck Williams is rebounding, James Worthy is limping and the Portland Trail Blazers are still alive in the Western Conference finals.Williams set the tone for a dominating Portland performance on the boards Tuesday night as the Blazers beat Los Angeles 95-84 to force a Game 6 on Thursday.

"Buck was really intense before the game. He was very quiet, and that's very unusual for Buck," Clyde Drexler said. "So I knew he was going to come out like a maniac."

Williams grabbed 16 rebounds as the Blazers commanded the boards 52-33, including a Portland playoff record 26 offensive rebounds. The Lakers had just nine offensive boards.

Seven of Williams' rebounds came in the third quarter, when the Blazers outscored the Lakers 28-18 to take control of the game.

"Buck was awesome. He was unbelievable," Portland coach Rick Adelman said. "He was everywhere."

The Blazers still trail the best-of-7 series 3-2 and the Lakers can earn their eighth trip to the NBA Finals in the last decade with a victory Thursday in the Forum, where they blew out Portland twice last weekend.

The Trail Blazers had the best road record in the league in the regular season, but they're 1-5 away from home in the playoffs. So will they be able to continue the intensity they displayed Tuesday night in the hostile environment of the Forum?

"A lot of things have been said about this team's mental toughness," Williams said. "The true test is going to be in Game 6."

The Lakers will have to win Thursday without a healthy Worthy, who sprained his left ankle in the first quarter. He tried to play but finally sat down for good with 9:34 to play and finished with 12 points.

"It's kind of tender and sore, but with the ice on it it's also kind of numb," he said.

"We tried to see if he could go," Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "But it was clear he couldn't, so we just tried to get him out of there and hopefully ready for Game 6."

Worthy said he plans to play Thursday, but team physician Stephen Lombardo said the severity of the injury wouldn't be known for 24 hours.

Magic Johnson, who scored 29 points but was only 3-for-14 from the field after making his first five shots, didn't know how much Worthy's injury affected Tuesday's outcome.

"It's a factor offensively for us," Johnson said. "But what they were doing to us on the boards, he couldn't have helped us there. They played volleyball with it most of the time."

Still, Dunleavy said he would like to have had a healthy Worthy during the Blazers' second-half surge.

"He may not have made all of those shots that Portland may have given him," Dunleavy said, "but it would be nice to have seen what he would have done."

Jerome Kersey had 20 points and 9 rebounds. Drexler added 19 points and Terry Porter 17, nine in the third quarter. Williams and Cliff Robinson scored 13 apiece.

In the first half, the Lakers seemed in good shape to win the game and advance to a Finals showdown against the Chicago Bulls. They led by as many as eight points and still were on top 50-47 at halftime.

The Blazers caught up in an intense third quarter, when there were five ties and three lead changes before Portland took control for good with an 11-4 run to end the quarter. Five different players scored during the decisive burst.

The Blazers led by seven at the start of the final period and Los Angeles didn't get closer than five the rest of the game.

"A lot was on the line for them in terms of their pride," Johnson said, "and they came out and showed why they won 63 games."

Adelman went with a switching defense for the first time in the series, changing the matchups several times. Sometimes Kersey guarded Vlade Divac. Williams, an all-NBA defensive team selection the last two years, often was against Worthy. Kevin Duckworth guarded Sam Perkins.

The way the Lakers had been playing, the Blazers had to do something, Adelman said.

The Lakers committed 17 turnovers. Portland outscored Los Angeles 24-15 in points off turnovers and 34-18 in second-chance points.

"We outhustled them," the Blazers' Danny Ainge said. "You might say we out-kamikazed them."