Notebook: Suns 102, Trail Blazers 98

Posted Feb 20, 2013 2:05 AM

Kerry Eggers, for

THE FACTS: Goran Dragic scored 16 points — including a pair of free throws with 13.5 seconds remaining — and dished out a career-high 18 assists as Phoenix held off a late Portland rally to win 102-98 Tuesday night at the Rose Garden.

The Suns (18-36) jumped in front 12-0, shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and never trailed in snapping a four-game losing streak.

Luis Scola added 18 points and Jermaine O'Neal came off the bench for nine points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who possess the worst record in the Western Conference.

J.J. Hickson had 25 points and 16 rebounds and Damian Lillard contributed 24 points and seven assists for Portland (25-29), which extended its losing streak to six games.

QUOTABLE: "A great team effort tonight. Guys played the right way and shared the ball, and that's the side effects we want to have from all the work we've put in."
-- Phoenix coach Lindsey Hunter

THE STAT: Phoenix used its interior advantage to win the boards 51-37 and points in the paint 40-34.

TURNING POINT: The first 4:43 of the game. It took that long for Portland to get its first basket. By that time, Phoenix was in front 12-0, and the Suns never trailed.

QUOTABLE II: "We've been doing this to ourselves all season. Now there's a stretch coming up where we have to figure it out how to put full games together. When a team is playing as well as [the Suns] were tonight, we don't have room to spot them 12 points. We have to get something going fast, because we're running out of time."
-- Blazers' Damian Lillard on the Blazers, who are 4-9 in games decided by four points or fewer.

HOT: The Suns were scorching the nets early, making 16-for-22 from the field in racing to a 36-23 advantage after one quarter.

NOT: Portland started 0-for-8 from the field and never really caught fire, finishing at .413 from the field and .300 from 3-point range.

GOOD MOVE: The Suns had the ball in the hands of Dragic "99.9 percent of the time," as Hunter overstated. The result was a career night.

BAD MOVE: With starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews [ankle] missing, Portland coach Terry Stotts used reserve Nolan Smith the entire fourth quarter. Smith had four rebounds and played some good defense in his 17 minutes, but was 0 for 4 from the field and scored only one point.

NOTABLE: Phoenix's scored the most points in the first quarter and in the first half of any Portland opponent all season. ... Dragic had 16 assists through three quarters. His previous career high for a game was 14 ... Phoenix centers Marcin Gortat and O'Neil are a combined 41 for 58 shooting in three games against Portland this season ... the Suns snapped a seven-game losing streak in Portland. It was their first win there since March 2008. ... Hickson is fourth in the NBA in double-doubles with 28. The Portland center was 10 for 14 from the field and has shot 50 percent or better in a franchise-record 17 straight games.

QUOTABLE III: "I would like to thank all my teammates. They were hitting shots."
-- Goran Dragic

UP NEXT: For the Suns, Wednesday @ Golden State, Friday vs. Boston, Sunday vs. San Antonio. For the Trail Blazers, Friday @ L.A. Lakers, Sunday vs. Boston, Wednesday vs. Denver.