Sunday , Jan , 18 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Suns go for third straight win

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – The Phoenix Suns go for their third straight
win tonight when they welcome the Portland Trail Blazers to America West Arena
for a Pacific Division battle.

This is the third contest between the two teams this season. The Blazers
defeated Phoenix, 101-94, on December 18, 2003 at the Rose Garden, while the
Suns knocked off Portland, 105-96, just three days ago at America West Arena.

Joe Johnson shot 12-of-16 from the field and scored a season-high 26 points to
lead the Suns to a 104-93 win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday in
front of their home crowd.

Shawn Marion scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting and pulled down nine
rebounds, while Amare Stoudemire poured in 21 in the win. Phoenix had three
players score 20-plus points in a game for the second night in a row.

Stoudemire scored 22, Marion added 21 and Johnson chipped in 20 in Phoenix’s
win over Portland on Friday night

“It’s a good feeling to get back-to-back wins and now we need to move
forward,” Marion said. “We came out tonight, and stopped some of their shots,
and got some of ours to fall.”

The Suns are 10-10 at home this season.

The Blazers come into tonight’s game having lost four straight games. On
Saturday, Portland fell to the Dallas Mavericks, 108-104, in front of its home
crowd.

Rasheed Wallace and Ruben Patterson each scored 24 points, as Portland fell
for the eighth time in its last nine tries. In addition to his season-high
point total, Patterson also grabbed 10 rebounds to record a double-double.

“It’s unfortunate. We’ve got to get over this hill. We stick together and we
can do it,” Blazers guard Derek Anderson explained of the team’s slump. “Its
just a matter of fighting through these tough times.”

Zach Randolph joined Patterson in the double-double category with 18 points
and 10 boards. Wesley Person and Damon Stoudamire scored 12 and 11 points in
the loss.

Portland, which has lost two straight and five of its last six on the road, is
a brutal 2-15 as the visitor this season.

The Suns have won four of their last six games with the Blazers, who have
lost two straight and five of their last six at Phoenix.

PHO POR