Notebook: Trail Blazers 96, Suns 93

Posted Dec 23, 2012 1:44 AM - Updated Dec 23, 2012 1:50 AM

By Kerry Eggers, for

THE FACTS: Rookie Damian Lillard scored a game-high 25 points -- including a critical jump shot in the final minute -- and dished out seven assists as Portland pulled out a 96-93 victory Saturday night at the Rose Garden. It was the fifth straight victory for the Trail Blazers (13-12), who closed out a six-game homestand with a 5-1 mark to push their record above .500 for the first time since they were 2-1 on Nov. 3.

J.J. Hickson collected 19 points and 15 rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and nine rebounds and Nicolas Batum contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Blazers. Marcin Gortat had 18 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix (11-16), which saw the end to a four-game win streak.

QUOTABLE: "We found a way to win. Our rebounding in the second half -- the fourth quarter, particularly -- was very good, and we held [the Suns] to 40 percent shooting the second half. We were able to play in a flow. Damian made some big shots down the stretch, but our defense gave our offense some momentum."
-- Portland coach Terry Stotts

THE STAT: Portland outrebounded Phoenix 45-32, the Blazers' largest rebounding advantage in a game this season.

TURNING POINT: Back-to-back 3-pointers by Sasha Pavlovic and Lillard gave Portland, clinging to a one-point lead, a 92-85 edge with 4:02 left. As it turned out, it provided just enough cushion.

QUOTABLE II: "We were right there. We just had to come up with a couple of plays, which has been our [mode of operation] for most of the year."
-- Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry

HOT: Lillard was 6-for-9 from the field -- including 2-for-3 from 3-point range -- and scored 18 of his points in the second half.

NOT: Batum, who made 4-for-12 shots -- 2-for-9 3-point attempts -- and had a career-high seven turnovers.

GOOD MOVE: Wesley Matthews, who has been dealing with a hip injury over the past two weeks, started but departed after 10 scoreless minutes. He needs to give the hip more time to heal.

BAD MOVE: The Suns had a chance to tie after a rebound with Portland in front 96-93 and 17 seconds. Eschewing the opportunity to call a timeout, they passed the ball around until Goran Dragic was forced to heave up a desperation three from the top that banked off the glass just before the buzzer sounded. "I thought we could get a quick two," Gentry said. "Then we peeled off and started looking for a three, and just never got the timeout called."

QUOTABLE III: "This is our third chance to get over .500. To finally get it done felt good. To go four games below .500 and get on a winning streak and get it done -- it says a lot about where we're going."
-- Damian Lillard

NOTABLE: Portland is on its first five-game win streak since February 2011.

UP NEXT: For the Suns, Sunday vs. L.A. Clippers, Wednesday vs. New York, Friday @ Indiana. For the Trail Blazers, Sunday @ Sacramento, Wednesday vs. Sacramento, Friday at L.A. Lakers.