Stoudemire, Suns drop Trail Blazers for 10th straight time

PHOENIX -- Amare Stoudemire took over the game just long enough to give the Phoenix Suns yet another victory over Portland.

Stoudemire scored 16 of his 23 points in the decisive third quarter and Phoenix beat the Trail Blazers 107-96 Saturday night to give Terry Porter his first home victory as Suns coach.

"I had my mind set I wanted to dominate," Stoudemire said. "I wanted to go out there and dominate the third quarter and kind of set the tone for the second half."

All five Phoenix starters reached double figures as the Suns beat Portland for the 10th straight time, their longest active streak against any opponent. It's also the Blazers' longest current losing streak against any team.

Steve Nash had 20 points, including a 3-pointer that put Phoenix ahead 101-90 with 1:48 left.

Matt Barnes scored 21, Shaquille O'Neal 16 and Raja Bell 13 for the Suns, who shot 55 percent. Nash also had seven assists.

Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez scored 20 apiece for Portland. Roy, hounded by Bell much of the night, was 7-of-18 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 for the Trail Blazers, coming off a 100-99 home victory over San Antonio on Friday night.

The Suns went to a zone defense to keep O'Neal on the floor, and the Blazers went cold from outside.

"They just packed in their defense and we shot the ball from the perimeter," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We can attack that zone or their man [defense] but we didn't do that. They were the aggressors. ... Amare and Shaq are very physical guys. At times, they just overpowered us in the paint."

Stoudemire had 13 rebounds as the Suns dominated the boards 36-28.

After going 1-for-5 and scoring five points in the first half, Stoudemire was 6-for-6 in the third quarter to help Phoenix take control. The power forward missed most of the preseason with an assortment of injuries.

"I think he's kind of slowly finding his rhythm," Porter said. "He seems to be feeling more and more comfortable with the flow. He gives us that offensive lift that we need."

After committing 24 turnovers in their loss to New Orleans on Thursday night, the Suns had 11 against Portland, just four in the second half.

"We played better. I think we had more energy tonight," Nash said. "We were a little bit disappointed with our performance the last time out."

The Suns put together a 16-3 run to take a 69-61 lead on Barnes' fast-break layup with just under 5 minutes left in the third. Stoudemire scored the first four and last four points of the period and Phoenix led 80-72 entering the fourth.

The Trail Blazers never got closer than seven in the final period. Stoudemire's emphatic dunk put Phoenix up 98-87 with 2:25 to play.

The Suns made four 3-pointers, two by Barnes, in the first 7:07 of the game to go up 22-11, and the lead reached 27-15 on Barnes' fast-break basket with 3:13 left in the first quarter. But the Trail Blazers' reserves dominated their Phoenix counterparts in a 28-8 outburst that put Portland ahead 43-35 on Travis Outlaw's driving layup with 5:56 left in the half.

Roy's 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds to play gave Portland a 50-49 halftime lead.

Game notes
Phoenix-area resident Muhammad Ali was courtside for the early part of the game. ... Porter went to Louis Amundson ahead of rookie Robin Lopez as his first big man off the bench. ... Portland last beat Phoenix on March 12, 2006, behind Zach Randolph's 32 points. ... The Suns go east for four games in five nights starting Tuesday at New Jersey.

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