Saturday , Jan , 20 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Suns hold off Trail Blazers for 12th-straight win

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points as Phoenix
held off Portland, 106-101, at US Airways Center.

Boris Diaw added 21 points for the red-hot Suns, who won their 12th straight
contest and for the 30th time in their last 33 tries. Leandro Barbosa chipped
in with 20 points, while Steve Nash had 13 points and 15 assists for Phoenix,
which is three wins shy of tying its franchise best winning streak set earlier
this season.

“We didn’t play real well tonight, we didn’t have our focus,” Suns coach Mike
D’Antoni said. “There were a few times when we got lucky to escape something
disastrous; we will dress and be ready for next game.”

The Suns will try to extend their streak Sunday night at home against
Minnesota.

“We came out a little slow tonight; we could have come out a lot stronger,”
Stoudemire said. “As a team going we need to come out stronger against the
Timberwolves.”

Zach Randolph had a game-high 36 points and 15 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
who have lost five of their last seven games. Rookie Brandon Roy tallied 22
points and Jarrett Jack, Ime Udoka and LaMarcus Aldridge all contributed 10
points.

“It’s disappointing and encouraging, Randolph said. “This team is picked by
some people to win the national championship. If we can stay in the game like
this it’s encouraging.”

Phoenix took a 12-point edge into the fourth quarter and quickly tried to put
things away. Diaw’s jumper, less than two minutes into the stanza, gave the
Suns a commanding 86-71 advantage.

But, Portland refused to go away and began to chip away as the game headed
toward the stretch. Randolph buried a jumper with 1:34 left to make it a one-
possession game, 96-93.

The league’s reigning MVP, Nash, refused to let the Suns give the game away,
however. Nash buried two jumpers and a pair of free throws in the final
1:17 to secure things for Phoenix.

“They were some big shots,” Phoenix’s Shawn Marion said of Nash. “Coach
designed two plays for the pick and roll and they just switched and he just
shot over the big guy.”

The Trail Blazers took a slim 28-25 lead after the opening 12 minutes but the
Suns rebounded with an excellent second quarter to take a 55-48 edge at
intermission.

Phoenix continued to slowly build its lead in the third quarter and were on
top, 81-69, heading to the final frame.

Game Notes

Phoenix is now a gaudy 18-3 at home this season…The Trail Blazers are 7-13
on the road this season…Raja Bell finished with 14 points for the Suns.

PHO POR