Hot Suns blot out Blazers 114-87


PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns outscored the Trail Blazers in all four quarters and outshot them in a relatively easy 114-87 home victory Wednesday night.

It was Portland's worst defeat of the season.

"Right now, I'm having a hard time taking any positives away from this other than we come to the realization that we've got to be a more consistent team," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

The Suns fired at a 59.7-percent clip from the field at US Airways Center, while Portland shot 40.3 percent.

Phoenix passed the 100-point mark with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the game.

In the paint, the Suns had a 54-24 advantage.

"Chicago outscored us by 20 in the paint last game, and we won," Stotts said. "We're not necesarily going to get a lot of points in the paint. It's a strength of theirs (the Suns). I probably anticipated a differential, but not 30."

Portland fell to 5-6, with a 7 p.m. Friday home game against Minnesota to play before embarking on its longest trip of the season (seven games in 11 nights).

The Suns snapped a three-game skid and improved to 5-7.

Four Phoenix starters, led by center Marcin Gortat's 22 points, scored in double figures. Gortat was 11 of 14 from the floor. He also had seven rebounds, matching teammate Markieff Morris and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge for game-high honors.

Off the bench, 34-year-old Phoenix big man Jermaine O'Neal, the ex-Blazer, chipped in a season-best 17 points — outscoring the eight Portland reserves, who totaled 13. O'Neal made 7 of 9 field-goal attempts in his 18 1/2 minutes.

The Suns led 89-71 going into the fourth quarter and were never headed. Phoenix led 29-25 after one quarter and 57-44 at the half.

Rookie guard Damian Lillard led Portland with a game-high 24 points, three off his best output of the season, although he had a career-high six turnovers to three assists.

Other Blazer starter scoring: Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, 13 points apiece, and Aldridge and starting pivot Meyers Leonard, 12 each. Batum played despite some flu-like symptoms. Leonard's points were his career high.

The Blazers were without center J.J. Hickson (sore shoulder), and the rookie Leonard struggled to combat the Suns inside.

"He needs to work on his indvidual post defense," Stotts said. "He's trying, but right now he's a poor post defender one-on-one. He's got to work on that, understand angles, tendencies. That's part of youth and part of him improving as a player."

The rest of the defense wasn't always much better Wednesday.

"One breakdown here, one breakdown there," Stotts said. "A lot of mental effort goes into it, sustaining the effort, coming up with loose balls ... we didn't do a lot right defensively."