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Stoudamire finds basketball in Portland easier proposition

Portland said hello to Damon Stoudamire, and the Golden State Warriors said goodbye to Joe Smith.

Just to be safe, the Boston Celtics told Chauncey Billups to take a seat on the bench.Prominent names are changing teams as the NBA trade deadline nears, with more big deals in the works.

Stoudamire had 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists in his Portland debut as the Trail Blazers beat the Warriors 101-83 Tuesday night. The game was played after Golden State traded Smith and Brian Shaw to Philadelphia for Jim Jackson and Clarence Weatherspoon.

Walt Williams, traded by Toronto with Stoudamire and Carlos Rogers, had 15 points in his debut with the Blazers, and Rogers played six minutes for his new team. The Warriors, fearful of losing Smith as a free agent after the season, played shorthanded after their deal with the Sixers.

The Raptors were still waiting for the arrival of Kenny Anderson, acquired in the Stoudamire deal last Friday with Alvin Williams and Gary Trent. They might have to trade Anderson, who has vowed not to play for them.

The Boston Celtics, one team reportedly mentioned by Anderson's agent as a possible taker, benched Billups, the 1997 No. 3 overall draft pick, and Dee Brown at Sacramento. The trade deadline is Thursday at 6 p.m. EST.

"If Chauncey is involved in a trade, we don't want to play him until the trade deadline is over," Boston coach Rick Pitino said after the Celtics lost 102-99 to the Kings.

Stoudamire, a Portland native, got a warm hometown greeting, then found out that life might be easier with the Blazers than it was in Toronto.

"I averaged 19 a game in Toronto, but it was a hard 19. I had 12 tonight, but I barely broke a sweat," Stoudamire said.

Walt Williams, who made three 3-pointers in the first half, had five assists and five rebounds to go with his 15 points.

"I can get used to playing like this," Stoudamire said. "This is how I envisioned the NBA when I first stepped into it. This team has so many weapons. It was the perfect game to get adjusted to my new environment."

Isaiah Rider scored 24 points and Jermaine O'Neal had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in his second NBA start.

Tony Delk scored 12 of his career-high 26 points in the third quarter to lead the Warriors, who traded Smith, their leading scorer after the suspended Latrell Sprewell.

"After a lot of work, we really feel this is a solid deal for both teams," Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean said. "We think we've got two veteran players who'll have a very positive impact on the game."

After the deal was announced, Philadelphia got its first home victory against Cleveland since 1991.

"We had a chance to get a guy who was the No. 1 pick in the draft," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "I don't see any downside in this."

The Celtics were not ready to make any promises to Billups as they explore more ways to rebuild.

"We're not a team looking to win a championship right now," Pitino said.

KINGS 102, CELTICS 99: Mitch Richmond scored 23 points and rookie Anthony Johnson had a career-high 21 as Sacramento held off the short-handed Celtics.

76ERS 98, CAVALIERS 97: Rookie Brevin Knight, the NBA leader in steals, missed a foul shot with 2.6 seconds left after swiping the ball from Allen Iverson as Philadelphia escaped with a rare home victory over Cleveland.

BULLS 105, PACERS 97: Michael Jordan celebrated his 35th birthday by scoring 27 points in a spirited United Center duel with Reggie Miller.

HEAT 110, TIMBERWOLVES 84: Voshon Lenard scored 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead Miami over visiting Minnesota.

SPURS 95, PISTONS 94: At San Antonio, Avery Johnson hit a wide open 15-foot jumper with 4.4 seconds left as the Spurs won without injured center David Robinson.

SUNS 95, MAVERICKS 77: Cliff Robinson scored 14 of his 20 points during a third-quarter surge as Phoenix won its 11th straight at Dallas.

KNICKS 91, NUGGETS 77: Allan Houston scored 21 points and John Starks had 18 as New York won at Denver, the Knicks' fourth straight victory.