Jim Paxson scored 20 points and Darnell Valentine had 18 to lead Portland to a 108-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers today, keeping the Trail Blazers alive in their NBA Western Conference semifinal playoffs.
The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1. Game 5 will be played in Inglewood, Calif., Tuesday night.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar contributed 34 points, but the Blazers held Jamaal Wilkes to 12 points and Norm Nixon to 10.
Portland outscored the Lakers, 17-4, during a five-minute stretch in the first quarter, turning an 11-11 tie into a 28-15 lead.
The Blazers extended the margin to 22 points on three occasions in the second quarter and held a 66-48 halftime lead.
Los Angeles rallied behind Jabbar's play to slice the lead to nine in the third quarter and still trailed by only 10 when Kurt Rambis sank two free throws with 9:16 to play.
But back-to-back baskets by reserves Audie Norris and Lafayette Lever put Portland's advantage back to 14 and the Lakers never threatened again.
The Lakers, trying to become the first team in 14 years to repeat as NBA champion, made 11 of 15 free throws, while Portland made 23 of 29.
Rambis scored 12 points and Magic Johnson 10 for Los Angeles.
The game brought out the poetic side of Portland's Mychal Thompson, who had 17 points.
"As the clock was winding down," he said, "the thing that came to mind was an air bubble rising to the surface. That's a sign of life. We're still deep under water but we're still alive."
Valentine had 11 assists and a 40-foot three-pointer in the second quarter that barely beat the 24-second clock.