- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore. For one night at least, Shawn Kemp proved his often-repeated argument: Given enough time, he can show more than just a glimpse of the old "Reign Man."
Kemp, making his first start of the season, had season highs of 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Washington Wizards 95-80 Saturday night.
"When you have that opportunity to start, you try to make the most of it," Kemp said. "You try not to do too much. You just try to go out there and have fun, and that's what I did tonight."
Kemp, who shot 8-for-15 in a season-high 43 minutes, started at center in place of Dale Davis, who began serving a two-game suspension for throwing a punch at Shawn Bradley in Portland's win over Dallas on Thursday night.
"All year, we always said if he got the minutes, he could be a 20-10 guy every night," Portland's Bonzi Wells said. "With Dale suspended, we weren't really worried, because we knew what type of [effort] Kemp was going to bring to the game."
Rasheed Wallace added 25 points, Wells 22 and Scottie Pippen tied his career high with 15 assists for the Blazers, who shot 80 percent in the third quarter to pull away.
Chris Whitney had 15 points and seven assists to lead the Wizards, who fell to 3-8 since Michael Jordan had surgery on his right knee Feb. 27. Washington dropped 2 games behind Charlotte for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"Coming into Portland, it's tough to beat a team this good if you don't take care of the ball," guard Courtney Alexander said. "We can compete with anybody, and we have to bring it every night to prove we are a playoff-caliber team."
With the victory, Portland pulled into a tie with Minnesota for fifth place in the Western Conference.
Portland trailed early in the third quarter but took control with a 19-4 run. Wallace sank a 3-pointer over Kwame Brown, then Pippen threw a long lob to Wallace for a dunk to put the Blazers ahead 71-60.
Wallace made an acrobatic one-handed slam on another lob from Pippen, then Damon Stoudamire made a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in the period to push the lead to 77-62.
Kemp didn't practice Friday because he was still groggy from sustaining a mild concussion against the Mavericks.


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