PORTLAND, ORE., JUNE 10 -- Vinnie Johnson played offense for 25 minutes of the Detroit Pistons' resounding victory today, as only Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson can: rocking and swaying on the perimeter, seemingly inviting disaster with every high dribble, and then bursting past Trail Blazers security for a pull-up jump shot, as if he had a special badge.

Twenty-five minutes and 21 points later, Johnson went on the defensive. First, he refused to talk. Then, after much prodding by a Pistons publicist, he proceeded to tell anybody who cared to listen that he's been fine all series, statistics aside.

"They said I wasn't shooting the ball well," said Johnson, who went zero for six from the field in Game 1, and one for four in Game 2, the lone basket a lay-in. "I wasn't in a slump. That's what you guys misunderstood.

"I'm not a shooter, I'm a scorer. I need the ball, I need playing time and I need more shots. . . . I was oh for six at Detroit? So what? That's no slump."

Today, while the Pistons were routing the Trail Blazers, 121-106, to take a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series, the Pistons gave Johnson everything he asked for: the ball, playing time, the works.

"When I put Vinnie in, Isiah said to me, 'You better not call a play for him right away, because he's not warmed up yet,' " Detroit Coach Chuck Daly recounted. "I said, 'Zeke, I've been around him for seven years, and he's as liable to hit that one as he is to hit one 10 minutes later.' When he makes that first shot, he can be dangerous."

That he did, sinking a 15-footer from the right side.

Said assistant Brendan Malone, Daly's right-hand man. "Psychologically, it's much more important for us, as a coaching staff, to see him make that first one, because now we can say, 'Okay, Vinnie's on, let's keep giving him the ball.' "

That they did. By the end of the second quarter, Johnson led all scorers with 15 points, on six-for-10 shooting. His second half was more of the same -- three for three from the field -- and he finished with 21 points.

Johnson is nicknamed "The Microwave" for his ability to heat up in a matter of seconds. Problem was, it had been a matter of weeks, dating from the Eastern Conference finals against Chicago, since Johnson cooked. When he scored only two points Thursday night in Game 2 against the Trail Blazers, it marked the seventh straight game in which he had been held below double figures.

On Saturday, when the Pistons held what Daly called an ultra-serious practice session, Johnson was as stone-faced as any of his teammates, shooting jumpers with Malone while the rest of the squad conducted interviews.

"Nothing was wrong with my shot," he said today. "I could tell {Saturday}, and I could tell in warm-ups today. I just needed the ball."

Just because Johnson had it didn't mean there wasn't plenty to share.

The Pistons back court of Johnson, Thomas and Joe Dumars outscored the Trail Blazers' back court by 75-53 after being outscored, and outplayed, Thursday in Portland's 106-105 win.

"We made {Clyde} Drexler work on defense like we made Michael Jordan work in the Chicago series, and we made {Terry} Porter work, too, today. When we make them work like that, that makes them more tired when they're on offense. We need to do more of that."