Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/22/12
PHOENIX -- After talking about his frustrations for three days, Suns center Marcin Gortat took some of them out on the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. Upset with his lack of involvement in the offense over the first 11 games, Gortat went public with his dissatisfaction in a Polish newspaper and spent two days tempering the outburst. But in his first opportunity to change things on the court, Gortat was active, efficient -- and angry -- hitting 11 of his 14 shots from the field. He finished with 22 points in only three quarters as Phoenix recorded its most complete win of the year, a 114-87 rout of the Portland Trailblazers. Markieff Morris added 19 in his first start as coach Alvin Gentry shuffled his lineup and found a unit that was effective from beginning to end. "I learned in the past three days that you have to play the game with a little bit of anger," said Gortat, who felt he wasn't getting the ball or being looked at as a main option by Gentry's and point guard Goran Dragic. "I had a little bit of anger inside me and I tried to prove and show that I'm a player that is capable for scoring. "I was frustrated. This is just one game, and we have to continue to play like that. If we share the ball, distribute the ball, move the ball ... look how much fun we have, we're beating a team by 30. It's just fun to win, no one wants to lose. I was frustrated with the way I played -- I talked to Goran we're all good, and we have to work on things every day." With Portland center JJ Hickson out with a shoulder injury and Nicolas Batum fighting the flu, it was a big night for the Phoenix big men. Veteran Jermaine O'Neal had his best night as a Sun with 17 points -- the Phoenix centers made 18 of 23 shots in the game -- and the Phoenix bench outscored the Blazers 43-13. Dragic added 15 points and eight assists while Shannon Brown, also making his first start, added 10 points as the Suns snapped a three-game losing streak and led by as many as 29 points over the listless Blazers. The Suns shot 60 percent from the field and had a better percentage from 3-point range (42.1), than the Blazers shot from the field (40.3). "If a team shoots 60 percent all night long then we didn't do a lot right defensively," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "It's not all effort. It's being mentally engaged." Damian Lilliard had 24 points for the Blazers, who once again had all five starters in double figures but had their three-game winning streak emphatically snapped. Portland missed 46 of 77 shots from the field, committed 22 turnovers and led only briefly early in the first quarter. LaMarcus Aldridge missed 10 of 15 shots from the field and was outplayed by Morris. "They just competed harder than us," Lilliard said. "They fought on the boards and just outplayed us overall." Unhappy with the chemistry in his starting lineup, Gentry shook things up Wednesday, starting Brown and Morris over Jared Dudley and Luis Scola in hopes of finding an early spark. The moves paid off as Brown and Morris had 10 of the first 16 Phoenix points and combined for 14 of Phoenix's 27 points in the opening quarter. "Markieff did a great job and we just seemed to have a pretty good flow going and then the second unit came in and did a good job also," Gentry said. "We did a great job of posting the ball obviously." Wesley Matthews and Lilliard each had eight points for the Blazers in the quarter and Lilliard's 3-pointer pulled Portland back within two in the final minute before Sebastian Telfair's 19-footer with six seconds left gave the Suns a 29-25 lead after one. But Phoenix pulled away quickly. The newly created bench now with Dudley and Scola aboard outscored the Blazers 18-1 in the first half and combined with 10 points from Gortat to take over in the second quarter. Gortat's layup off a Morris feed capped a 15-4 Phoenix run and pushed the Suns' lead to 51-38 with 3:46 left in the half, and they carried a 57-44 advantage into intermission. The Suns came out strong again in the third quarter with a 10-2 run and Gortat's 14-footer gave Phoenix a 21-point bulge at 67-46 just 2:16 into the second half. NOTES -- Meyers Leonard started at center Hickson. ... Portland's Batum came into the game with 31 3-point field goals in the first 10 games, the first Blazer to do so since Cliff Robinson in 1995. He was 1-for-5 on Wednesday ... Going into the game, Dragic joined Chris Paul and Brandon Jennings as the only three NBA players averaging at least 16 points a game (16.3), seven assists (7.3) and two steals (2.0) per game. Only two Suns in franchise history have averaged those numbers over a full season -- Kevin Johnson (1990-91) and Jason Kidd twice (1998-99) and (2000-01). ... The Blazers entered the game with all five starters averaging in double figures after 10 games for the first time in two decades (1991-92) and the 87.6 points per game the starters are averaging leads the NBA.
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