Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/21/12
PHOENIX -- Upset with his lack of offensive involvement in the first 11 games, Marcin Gortat went public with his dissatisfaction with both his role and his play for the Phoenix Suns. Wednesday night, the Suns were sporting a new starting lineup, and a new Gortat to boot. Gortat made 11 of his first 14 shots from the field and finished with 22 points in only three quarters of work while Markieff Morris added 19 in his first start of the year as Phoenix recorded its most complete win, a 114-87 rout of the Portland Trailblazers. Jermaine O'Neal had 17 points for a Suns bench that outscored the Blazers 43-13 for the game and 18-1 in the first half. Goran Dragic added 15 points and eight assists while Shannon Brown, also making his first start in the new lineup, 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 a better percentage from 3-point range (42.1), than the Blazers shot from the field (40.3). 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. Unhappy with the chemistry in his starting lineup over the first 11 games, Phoenix coach Alvin 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. Goran Dragic's 3-pointer stretched the lead to eight at 19-11 with 5:39 left and the Suns were off and rolling. 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 to 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 for JJ Hickson (shoulder) for the Blazers. ... Portland's Nicolas 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. ... 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 in 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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