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UNLIKELY COMEBACK CARRIES BLAZERS PAST BULLS

SHARE UNLIKELY COMEBACK CARRIES BLAZERS PAST BULLS

The Portland Trail Blazers overcame Michael Jordan, having two starters foul out and a 9-point deficit in the last 4 minutes to gain a split in the NBA finals Friday night.

Danny Ainge, filling in after Clyde Drexler fouled out, scored nine of his 17 points in overtime as the Trail Blazers rallied for a 115-104 victory over the Chicago Bulls to even the NBA finals 1-1.The Blazers, routed 122-89 in the opener, appeared to be headed for a second defeat when they trailed 94-85 with 4:09 left in regulation. They forced overtime at 97-97 on Kevin Duckworth's baseline jumper with 13 seconds left.

Jordan, who scored 39 points but had no 3-pointers, started the overtime with a jumper, but the lead was short-lived as Buck Williams scored on a layup and Ainge hit a jumper, giving Portland a 101-99 lead it never lost.

Terry Porter, who led the Blazers with 24 points, including 14 after the third quarter, hit Portland's first 3-pointer in 13 tries in the game with 1:31 left, making it 108-102. Ainge followed with a layup and two free throws to seal the outcome.

Portland outscored Chicago 18-7 in overtime. Only the Los Angeles Lakers, with 22 in 1970, scored more in an overtime in the playoffs.

The next three games of the best-of-7 series are in Portland, starting Sunday night.

Drexler, held to 16 points in the Bulls' 33-point rout in the opener, scored 26 before fouling out with 4:36 left in regulation. Williams had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Portland, which made 325 3-pointers in the regular season to 138 for Chicago, but missed its first 12 from 3-point range.

Scottie Pippen and John Paxson each added 16 for the Bulls, winners of their five previous games in the Finals.

The Trail Blazers also gained a split on the road against Detroit the last time they were in the Finals two years ago. The Pistons then won the next three games in Portland to repeat as champions.

Chicago, hoping to become the third team in six years to win consecutive titles, also was 1-1 at home in 1991, then won four straight over the Los Angeles Lakers for its first crown.

By winning on Friday night, the Blazers have the opportunity to earn the franchise's second NBA title by winning three straight at home. Portland is 8-0 at home this year in the playoffs, 4-5 on the road.

Portland led 63-54, matching its largest margin of the game, on Drexler's tip-in with 7:55 left in the third quarter.

A jumper by Jordan and consecutive 3-pointers by Paxson closed the Bulls within one. A three-point play by Drexler helped the Blazers rebuild their advantage to 70-64 with 4:50 left, but they didn't score again in the third quarter.

The 13-0 run that gave Chicago a 77-70 lead going into the final 12 minutes was started by Pippen's rebound basket. Then Paxson hit his third 3-pointer of the period, Jordan converted a three-point play, Scott Williams connected from the baseline and Bobby Hansen hit another 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left.

Consecutive baskets by Porter pulled the Trail Blazers to 86-82 with 6:05 left. But a jumper by Bill Cartwright, a bank shot by Jordan and two free throws by Pippen after Drexler fouled out made it 92-82.

It was still 94-85 with 4:09 left, but a 10-1 surge, including 6 points by Porter, tied the game 95-95 with 45 seconds left. A layup by Jerome Kersey, who fouled out in overtime, tied the game.

Jordan gave the Bulls a 97-95 lead with a twisting playup off a feed from Pippen with 31 seconds left. But Duckworth's baseline jumper tied it again and Jordan forced an 18-footer that missed at the end of regulation.

Chicago led 14-12 six minutes into the game, but the Trail Blazers outscored the Bulls 19-9 the rest of the first quarter for a 31-23 advantage.

Buck Williams, who scored 3 points in 18 foul-plagued minutes in the Bulls' opening-game rout, had 9 points in the first period and Ainge hit three jumpers in the final 3:04 of the quarter.

The Bulls then started the second period with a 14-6 spurt, tying the score 37-37 on Paxson's 3-pointer with 6:41 left.

Again, Portland finished the period with a rush, closing the half with a 17-8 burst for a 54-45 halftime advantage. Layups by Kersey and Drexler and a dunk by Williams started the spurt, and after Jordan hit a jumper with 2.9 seconds left, Drexler took a long inbounds pass and scored with 0.8 on the clock.