LinkThe depleted Portland Trail Blazers straggled into Phoenix at 3 a.m. after an embarrassing home loss.
The Suns were waiting, with five days' rest and a five-game winning streak, knowing the Blazers hadn't won in Phoenix for a long, long time.
What followed was a 108-101 victory for Portland in one of the Blazers' best offensive games of the season and a Suns performance that left Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry steaming.
The final score did not come close to reflecting the Blazers' dominance.
Steve Blake had 20 points and 12 assists, both season highs for Portland, coming off an 89-77 home loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. Blake didn't start in that game and went scoreless, going 0 for 5 in 23 and a half minutes.
Still, coach Nate McMillan decided to start Blake alongside Andre Miller, with Nicolas Batum going to the bench.
"Everyone knows last night was a little uncharacteristic of us, 24 turnovers and stuff," Blake said, "so we wanted to come back and show how we really play. When you have a big break coming up you want to have confidence, feeling good going into that break. So this is huge for us."
The Blazers, who led by as many as 22 in the third quarter and 17 in the fourth, shot 58 per cent, the highest the Suns have allowed this season. Portland made 71 per cent of their first-half shots while ending a 10-game losing streak in Phoenix.
"We were pretty sharp from the start," McMillan said. "It's nice to see the ball going through the hoop. I think all teams feed off that when their shots are falling."
The Blazers, without All-Star Brandon Roy and three other injured important players, bolted to a 14-point lead in the opening minutes and were up by as many as 17 in the second quarter.
LaMarcus Aldridge led five Portland players in double figures with 22 points. Amare Stoudemire scored 24 for Phoenix. Steve Nash had 15 points and 11 assists, but shot just 6 of 16 with five turnovers.