Postgame Central: Suns vs. Trail Blazers - April 16, 2012
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Suns Torch Blazers
Phoenix (AP)Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Steve Nash had 13 assists to pace the Phoenix Suns to a 125-107 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
The Suns had six players score in double figures, built a 20-point lead by the end of the third quarter and cruised to their fourth win in their last six games.
Channing Frey added 19 points for Phoenix and Jared Dudley had 18.
With their win and a victory by Denver over Houston, the Suns and Rockets have identical records. At this point, the Suns would get the tiebreaker and move into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Phoenix gets the edge over Houston by virtue of a season-series tie and a better conference record. Phoenix has a 22-21 record against Western Conference teams and the Rockets have a 21-23 mark.
J. J. Hickson and Jamal Crawford both had 22 points for Portland.
After straining his right hip last week against Memphis, Nash played less than 6 minutes in the Suns' loss to San Antonio last Saturday.
After a day off, Nash started against the Blazers and he had eight assists in the first quarter as the Suns took a nine-point lead.
Gortat scored 10 points in the first quarter and had 15 at halftime.
When Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry rested Nash late in the opening half, the Suns were ahead by nine points. When he returned the Suns were up by five with 5:39 left in the half and they went on a 19-8 run. The Suns led 66-53 at halftime.
Paced by two 3-pointers from Shannon Brown, and four points each from Frey and Markieff Morris, Phoenix broke the game open late in the third quarter.
When Michael Redd made two free throws and Morris followed with a dunk, the Suns led 101-80 less than a minute into the final quarter.
NOTES: The Suns have four of their remaining five games at home. ... Phoenix improved to 7-3 in April, tied for the most wins of any Western Conference team this month.
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