Posted November 21, 2012 on AP on Fox
Marcin Gortat scored a season-high 22 points in only three quarters and the Phoenix Suns routed the Portland Trail Blazers 114-87 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak. Markieff Morris and Shannon Brown, inserted into the starting lineup earlier Wednesday, combined for 29 points for the Suns. Morris had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Brown added 10, including a pair of 3-pointers as Phoenix rallied from a four-point deficit in the opening minutes to take the lead for good with 7:23 left in the first quarter. Jermaine O'Neal added 17 points off the bench and Goran Dragic had 15 points and eight assists for Phoenix. Damien Lillard had 24 points and three assists for the Blazers, who had won three straight. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum had 13 points apiece for Portland, which was without starting center JJ Hickson, out with a left shoulder sprain. The Blazers committed 20 turnovers and received only 13 points from their reserves, seven in the fourth quarter. Gortat had told a reporter for Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy after the Suns' loss to the Lakers on Friday that he didn't believe he was ''even an option for (Suns coach Alvin) Gentry.'' But against the Blazers, Gortat was a key component of a Phoenix offense that shot 60 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 57-44 lead and a season-best 59.7 percent for the game. Gortat was 11 of 14 from the floor and added seven rebounds. The Blazers rallied briefly in the third quarter, cutting a deficit that had ballooned to 21 points to 11, 73-62, on a 3-pointer by Lillard with 5:38 left in the period. But Dragic and Morris scored consecutive baskets and the Suns went on a 16-5 run to take an 86-67 lead with 1:26 to go in the third. NOTES: The Suns won their second game against a team with a .500-plus record. . Batum, who has been fighting a severe cold, was a game-time decision. . Dragic has had double-digit steals in a career-best seven straight games. . Blazers rookie center Meyers Leonard, playing in place of Hickson, scored 12 points on 6 of 9 shooting and added five rebounds. . Phoenix had not shot better than 50 percent since April 16, also against Portland. . Portland has not won in Phoenix since December 10, 2010. The Blazers are 2-12 at US Airways Center since the start of the 2004-05 season. . The Blazers' 44 first-half points were an opponent season low. . The Suns had not shot more than 50 percent from the field yet this season.
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