Bell Leads Suns To Win Over Blazers
Posted Nov 27 2006 1:48AM
Phoenix 119, Portland 101
PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 26 (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns' rebound appears to be complete.
After a 1-5 start to the season, the Suns have gone 6-1 and won their fourth straight in a 119-101 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
"That was maybe our best game of the year,'' reigning MVP Steve Nash said.
Raja Bell had a season-high 30 points, including seven 3-pointers, and all four of his fellow starters scored in double figures as Phoenix led by as many 25 points. Amare Stoudemire, coming back from surgery on his left knee that forced him to miss all but three games last season, had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
"We're definitely back,'' Stoudemire said.
Nash had 23 points and 10 assists. Boris Diaw and Shawn Marion each scored 17.
"I thought it was our best 48 minutes. We put it together,'' coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Zach Randolph had 18 points and nine rebounds, but left the game late in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Travis Outlaw added a career-high 22 points for the Blazers, 2-7 in their last nine games after opening the season 4-2.
For a second straight game, an ankle sprain sidelined Suns guard Leandro Barbosa, whose average of 18.5 points per game ranks second on the team.
Randolph, Portland's top scorer, left the court late in the third quarter, and had his knees iced on the bench. He did not return.
"They took a lot of life and energy out of us,'' Randolph said. ``Yeah, I was frustrated. We need to keep playing and keep focused.''
The Blazers closed to 39-36 in the first half, but Stoudemire scored six points as the Suns went on an 13-2 run to make it 52-38.
Diaw's 3-pointer put Phoenix up 85-62, and two consecutive 3-pointers from Marion and Bell extended the lead to 93-68.
"You can't ask for a whole lot more that to have open shots and somebody like Steve putting it in your hands,'' Bell said. "All you really have to do is shoot it.''
Sergio Rodriguez made a layup that narrowed it to 100-85 for the Blazers in the final quarter. It was as close as they would come.
"I don't want to go crazy here. You're looking at a very young team that doesn't have all of its players healthy,'' Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Right now we don't have that experience and leadership that other veteran teams have. You don't have that All-Star to pull things together. Zach is trying to become that but he needs some help to do it.''
Bell fell a point short of his career-high 31 points, set against Seattle on Jan. 22. His seven 3-pointers were a season high.
"We're giving a more consistent effort defensively and that's the biggest difference for the start of the season,'' Nash said.
Notes: The Suns went 3-1 against the Trail Blazers last season and have won six of the last seven meetings. Last season's 130-85 victory over the Blazers was the Suns' widest margin of the season. ... Blazers rookie LaMarcus Aldridge was hit in the lip in the first half and needed five stitches. He returned in the second half but played sparingly.
Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited