Thursday , Mar , 23 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Stoudemire could return for Suns

(Sports Network) – The Phoenix Suns are expected to get a huge lift tonight
when they attempt to put the brakes on a two-game losing streak versus the
Portland Trail Blazers at US Airways Center.

Star forward Amare Stoudemire is expected to return to the lineup for the
first time this season. He has yet to play a game in 2005-06 due to a left
knee injury that needed surgery in October.

The 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year, Stoudemire is coming off a stellar season
that saw him lead Phoenix to the league’s best regular-season record (62-20).
He averaged 26 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, while also ranking second in
the NBA in field goal percentage (.559) and first in free throw attempts
(795).

On Tuesday, Andrei Kirilenko finished with 22 points, a career-high 18
rebounds and four blocked shots to help the Utah Jazz overcome a 15-point
deficit to defeat the Suns, 107-99, at the Delta Center.

Reigning MVP Steve Nash scored 20 points and dished out 10 assists, while Raja
Bell ended with 18 points and Boris Diaw netted 16 in the loss to Utah for the
Suns, who have lost three of their last five games overall.

Phoenix, which is scheduled to host the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, is
an impressive 26-9 at home this season.

The Trail Blazers enter tonight’s contest on a five-game losing streak. On
Monday, Michael Redd ended with 23 points and T.J. Ford contributed 19 points,
five rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Milwaukee Bucks over Portland,
100-93, at the Rose Garden.

Zach Randolph finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds in the loss to the Bucks
for Portland, which has dropped 20 of its last 24 games overall. Joel
Przybilla added 13 points and 12 boards in defeat.

Portland is a dismal 6-29 on the road this season. It has lost 10 in a row as
the visitor. The Trail Blazers last victory away from home was on February
15th against the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

This is the third meeting of the season between the clubs. In the two previous
contests, both clubs picked up a victory at home.

Portland has lost three straight and six of its last seven at Phoenix.

The Trail Blazers are scheduled to host Phoenix on April 19th at the Rose
Garden in the fourth and final meeting of the season between the squads.

PHO POR