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Randolph, Aldridge lead Trail Blazers over Pistons

Dec 6, 2006 - 3:30 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Zach Randolph is making a push for his first All-Star appearance and showed former teammate Rasheed Wallace why he is deserving.

Randolph had 31 points and 13 rebounds and nailed a go-ahead jumper with 21 seconds remaining as the Portland Trail Blazers surprised the Detroit Pistons, 88-85, and ended a five-game losing streak.

Jarrett Jack scored 18 points for the Trail Blazers, who shot 41 percent (32-of-78) from the field but outrebounded the Pistons, 46-35. Randolph and Wallace, who played together with Portland from 2002-04, battled in the paint all night.

The 6-9 forward, who had microfracture surgery in 2004, was bothered by nagging knee soreness in the first half and was uncertain if he could finish the game.

"I thought I was done but I was able to run it out," Randolph said. "I was almost done. This is a big win and a confidence-booster. You can't do better than this, starting a road trip by beating one of the best teams. They won the title a couple years ago."

"If Zach had gone down, I just would have gone with the guys I had left," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "I'm not a magician."

Leading Portland in scoring (25.8) and rebounding (10.2) entering Tuesday's contest, Randolph dominated Wallace on the interior.

A former Michigan State star, Randolph was excited to come up big in his latest return to Detroit.

"I started out slow. My knee was bothering me, but I got rolling," Randolph said. "I love playing in Detroit. I played college around here and I love coming back."

His biggest shot came in the waning seconds as he backed in the 6-11 Wallace and banked in a short shot to make it 86-85.

"Man, (Randolph) was phenomenal. He was unstoppable," Detroit guard Chauncey Billups said. "Every time he got his hands on it, he was a real problem for us. Whether he was dishing it to a shooter or scoring or being a threat getting on the 3-point line, he was a load."

On the ensuing possession, Billups missed a jumper. After two free throws by Jack with 12 seconds to play, Richard Hamilton fired an airball a potential tying 3-pointer as time expired.

"It was a play for people to come off (screens)," said Pistons guard Flip Murray, who inbounded on Detroit's final play. "Rasheed was coming off the top, Chauncey was coming off to the corner, Rip (Hamilton) was coming off the other side.

"I saw Rip coming off, he had what looked like a wide-open shot. I was told I missed Chauncey coming off to the corner. He was wide open."

The Blazers also got a boost from Aldridge, who collected 11 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor.

"I was trying to be aggressive, because when I play like that instead of being passive, I think it opens a lot up for Zach," Aldridge said.

"Aldridge played well against two of the best players in the league - Rasheed and Tayshaun Prince," McMillan said.

Hamilton scored 25 points and Billups added 17 for Detroit, which shot 43 percent (32-of-75). The Pistons have lost to Charlotte and Portland since a season-high eight-game winning streak.

"The last couple of games we haven't shot the ball well," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We haven't had that sense of urgency the last two games. When you win eight in a row, sometimes you get the 'fat cat syndrome.' You start feeling maybe too good about yourself."

"I don't think we're there (where they were before eight-game win streak) at all," Billups said. "But I'll tell you what, if we start playing a little harder and with a little more urgency, we could get back there."

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