PHOENIX (AP)—The old man showed the kid he still has something left.
O’Neal’s performance included a head-first dive over the first two rows of seats trying to save a loose ball with 2:55 to play as fearful fans scattered in every direction.
“Shaq has been great all year at getting the ball in the post,” Suns coach Terry Porter said. “When they double, he’s kicking it out and our guys have just been in a position to knock shots town.”
Oden, meanwhile, watched mostly from the bench but did get a bit of court time against the 36-year-old O’Neal. Shaq said he didn’t offer any advice.
Amare Stoudemire added 17 points, Steve Nash had 16 on 6-for-7 shooting with seven assists, and Grant Hill scored 15 for the Suns, who beat the Blazers for the second time in Phoenix this season. The Suns’ Raja Bell scored all 14 of his points in the second half.
The Blazers, playing for the second night in a row after winning at Sacramento on Friday, have lost 11 straight against Phoenix. The Suns have a nine-game home winning streak against Portland.
“It’s one more loss right now,” Roy said. “I don’t even look at the big streak because we haven’t beat any of the good teams on the road.”
The Suns shot 53 percent to Portland’s 39 percent.
Despite the presence of the massive O’Neal, Phoenix is still Nash’s team,” Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.
O’Neal, McMillan said, “does what he does, which is establish the post.”
“He was down there deep and he was able to score and make some plays kicking the ball out, McMillan said. “The guy is Nash. He’s still orchestrating that offense and getting everybody involved. … That show runs with Nash.”
O’Neal had eight points and 13 rebounds in the first half as the Suns took a 41-36 lead at the break. Phoenix led throughout the second quarter, going up 40-30 on Boris Diaw’s layup with 1:01 remaining.
The Blazers, who shot just 34 percent in the first two quarters, outscored the Suns 6-1 in the final 50 seconds of the half, capped by Roy’s 20-footer with 1.1 seconds left.
Blake and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored six in a 17-11 Portland run to start the second half. Aldridge capped the surge with a fast-break dunk that gave the Blazers a 53-52 lead with 6:47 left in the third quarter.
Blake’s second 3-pointer in a row put Portland up 59-57, but Bell responded with his second consecutive 3. That ignited an 12-0 run that put Phoenix ahead for good 69-59. Matt Barnes and Nash each made a 3 during the run. Phoenix started the fourth quarter with a 6-1 spurt to take a 78-63 lead on Stoudemire’s layup with 11:10 to play.
The Trail Blazers scored the next 11 points to cut it to 78-74 on Blake’s 16-footer with 7:27 left. Phoenix regained control with an 12-4 run, Bell’s layup after a steal making it 90-78 with 4:05 to play.
The Suns expect Leandro Barbosa back at practice Sunday. He has missed five games to return to Brazil following the death of his mother. … Turnovers continued to plague the Suns. They had 18 to Portland’s nine. … The Blazers scored 233 points in their previous two games—wins over Chicago and Sacramento.