PHOENIX(AP) The NBA playoffs generally aren't a time for reserve players to shine.
After all, this is a star's league, and the playoffs are a time for stars to earn their cash and their cachet. Coaches go along, often narrowing their playing rotations.
The Suns turned this maxim on its head Monday night. After their starters spotted the Trail Blazers an 18-4 lead, the Suns reached deep into their bench and turned around the teams' critical playoff Game 5 into a huge 107-88 rout for the Suns.
Thanks to such reserves as Channing Frye and Jared Dudley, the Suns' lead at one point reached 27 (at 101-74), a 41-point turnaround from that early deficit.
Frye, normally a 3-point specialist, scored inside and out, rebounded and defended in what was probably his best game in a Suns' uniform.
Frye, buried on the Blazers' bench the past two years, finished with a career playoff-high 20 points, plus eight rebounds, two steals and zero turnovers.
Dudley added a career playoff-high 19 points.
And point guard Goran Dragic (seven points) forced a fast pace and got the Blazers in foul trouble, as the Suns went 10 deep in this critical game.
Starter Amar'e Stoudemire added 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
The Blazers' fast start seemed to lure them into the Suns' preferred quicker tempo.
Also helping force the pace was the Suns' trapping defense. Then too, the Suns pounded the Blazers on the boards, 41-29.
"Some days, the ball comes to you," said Frye, who'd had a quiet series until Monday.
But in general, "When I get in there, it really helps the faster we go.
"It's a battle of tempos. It's a great series."
The teams return to Portland for Game 6 Thursday night.
The Suns have history on their side. The team that wins Game 5 in a series that's tied ends up taking the series 83 percent of the time.
For the Blazers, Brandon Roy -- in his second game since his surprisingly quick return from knee surgery -- had almost no impact.
He picked up three quick fouls and had just two points at halftime, five for the game.
Only Andre Miller (21 points), LaMarcus Aldridge (17) and Jerryd Bayless (17) did much to keep them in the game.
"We fell into their tempo," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.
Early on, "We got some easy shots. Then we started...taking quick jump shots.
"We got caught up in their style of play."
Suns coach Alvin Gentry said, "I loved the pace of the game...We're much better running off misses.
"Our second unit did a great job of getting in the open court, and our defense made the difference."
The Suns' reserves found holes in the Blazers' highly regarded halfcourt defense and outscored the Blazers' bench 29-8 in the first half (55-23 for the game) as the Suns took a 57-47 lead.
The Blazers spent the rest of the game fighting off a blowout.
They didn't come close to succeeding.
In a tightly officiated game, their big men got in foul trouble midway through the third quarter, when they trailed only 65-58.
Once they were forced to go smaller, they couldn't stay with the Suns.
Frye and Steve Nash (14 points, 10 assists) hit 3-pointers, then -- after an unforced turnover by Blazers reserve Dante Cunningham -- Nash fed Jason Richardson for a fast-break slam.
The Suns had an 82-65 lead, and the rout was on.
Richardson hit a 3-pointer to start the final quarter, then Frye nailed a 3-pointer and was fouled by Bayless. He converted the rare 4-point play to give the Suns a 91-68 lead.
To start the game, the Blazers made a lineup switch in hopes of jump-starting their offense.
It worked, in spades, at least in the beginning.
Bayless started in the backcourt, along with Miller, with Roy and Rudy Fernandez coming off the bench.
With Roy out for the first three games of the series, Fernandez started and Bayless came off the bench. But Fernandez has had a quiet series while Bayless has hurt the Suns.
The trick for the Suns would be whether Nash could guard Bayless. (Grant Hill covers Miller while Richardson takes Nicolas Batum).
The change worked splendidly when Bayless scored five quick points as the Blazers took a 9-0 lead.
At the same time, Hill went under screens set for Miller, who calmly popped in shot after shot.
The lead grew to 18-4 and 23-9, with Miller racking up 10 points.
Then the Suns started to substitute.
Nash said the Suns weren't worried:
"They were making everything, so it made it feel like we were running uphill.
"But I just felt we had to think of this as long term. Think of it as the stock market. We're not day traders. We want to be very conservative and long term in our investment in transition.
"You've got to stick with it from start to finish."