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Portland gets revenge with historic blowout of Phoenix

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Phoenix Suns Friday, 109-71, in front of 20,664 at the Rose Garden, avenging a 102-77 loss the team suffered at Phoenix earlier this month with their biggest victory in the 42-year history of the series.

    "I thought from start to finish, our effort was good," coach Nate McMillan said. "This is what we were looking for from our guys where everybody played well on both ends of the floor."

    Trailing 24-21 at the end of the first quarter, Portland (12-8) ratcheted up the defensive pressure to hold Phoenix to nine points in the second quarter, the least by a Trail Blazers opponent in a quarter this season.

    The Trail Blazers started the quarter with a 17-4 run, capped by a Nicolas Batum steal that fed into a Wesley Matthews to LaMarcus Aldridge alley-oop slam and a 10-point Portland lead that would swell to 14 points by halftime.

    "It starts with the pressure on the ball. I thought it started with Raymond picking up full court. Then when Nic came in, as opposed to having Crawford up there, we went with Nic on the ball," McMillan said. "I thought tonight he played Nash as well as he has played him in the last few years. That’s where it starts, on the ball."

    Phoenix (6-12) couldn't find a way out of their offensive funk after the break and Portland held the Suns to 12 points in the third quarter, second least by an opponent this season, while Matthews took over on the offensive end of the floor.

    Matthews scored all 16 of his points in the third quarter, going 6-of-9 after shooting 0-for-4 in the first half, including one stretch of 11 consecutive Trail Blazers points. Portland led 78-45 at the end of the third, effectively putting the game on ice with a 57-21 advantage in the second and third quarters combined.

    "Tonight he came out, he worked, he took his shot when it was there. He didn't hesitate; he was looking for it and shot it with confidence," McMillan said of Matthews. "It was good to see the ball go in the hole for him. He can shoot the ball and tonight he didn't hesitate."

    Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting while adding seven rebounds and three assists. Marcus Camby led the rebounding effort, pulling down 20 boards as the Trail Blazers outrebounded the Suns 58-41, the sixth consecutive game in which the team has won the battle of the boards.

    Camby was the only Trail Blazers player who saw playing time and failed to score, going 0-for-4 from the field. He is the first ever Trail Blazer with 20 rebounds and no points and the first in the NBA since he himself did it on Dec. 5, 2007 (Lakers at Nuggets).

    Jamal Crawford led Portland with 10 assists, the first time he has dropped double-digit dimes since Feb. 25, 2007 (10, New York at New Jersey).

    Phoenix was led by Grant Hill with 12 points, followed by Sebastian Telfair with 10 points. Steve Nash was held to a quiet five points, seven assists, as the Suns shot 37.2 percent from the field while turning the ball over 21 times.

    "The thing that was surprising was that I thought we kind of folded. We stopped competing there as soon as they came out and hit us hard. Instead of hitting back we just kind of folded," Hill said of the suns performance. "We always know that playing here is going to be difficult, this crowd is going to get them in the game… you know they’re going to make a run, but I just was disappointed with our attitude while they were making that run."

    Next, Portland travels to Utah to take on the Jazz Monday,  6 p.m., after a rare weekend off for the Trail Blazers. The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast Channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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