Trail Blazers' winning streak ends with loss to Suns

Jerry Brown, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- After one quarter, the Phoenix Suns had 21 points on the scoreboard, trailed the Portland Trail Blazers by 11 and appeared to be ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a day early.
The rest of the night, the Suns beat the stuffing out of the Trail Blazers.
Phoenix turned a 16-point deficit into a 22-point lead, put up a season-high 120 points and snapped Portland's 11-game winning streak in decisive fashion with a 120-106 win Wednesday night.
Guard Goran Dragic had 12 of his 31 points in the second quarter and forward Channing Frye had a season-high 25 points for the Suns, who have handed the Blazers two of their three losses this season in the three meetings between the teams.
Forwards Markeiff and Marcus Morris combined for 34 points, seven rebounds and six assists off the bench for Phoenix.
The Blazers' only win over Phoenix came in a 90-89 squeaker in Portland on Nov. 13, when the Suns missed three potential game-winning shots in the final five seconds. This one wasn't nearly as close.
"Sometimes it's just about matchups and for whatever reason our guys match up decently against Portland and we've had three pretty decent games against them," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We lost twice to Sacramento (last week) and maybe that's a bad matchup for us.
"We had a bit of a letdown early coming off the road trip, but Goran gave us a big lift and kept us in the game."
Frye, who was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and missed all of last season, played 41 minutes and hit 10 of 12 shots from the floor -- including three of Phoenix's 10 3-pointers. After a slow start, he has regained some stamina, and scored in double figures in four straight games, with the Suns winning three.
"I told coach (Jeff Hornacek) 'I'm not tired' and he listened to me and left me out there in the second quarter," Frye said. "I couldn't have done that two weeks ago. Guys were finding me and the shots were going in.
"That's a good team. To beat them twice says something."
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and guard Damian Lillard added 16 for Portland (13-2), who had lost 14 straight regular-season games dating back to last year when Phoenix won the season-opener here 114-92 on Oct. 30. Since then, the Blazers had gone 13-1 overall and 6-0 on the road.
"I'm glad we don't have to play Phoenix (again) until April," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "After we got the lead, they completely outplayed us. They made shots, they ran and they rebounded. They've played us very well ... we'll see on April 4 (in Portland) if anything changes between then and now."
The Blazers shared the league's longest active winning streak with San Antonio at 11 games. The Spurs also lost on Friday in Oklahoma City.
"That's something special in the NBA, to win that many games in a row," Aldridge said. "We're definitely proud of it, but we have to bounce back and not lose two in a row. We talked about that. It was fun but now we have to go to Los Angeles (against the Lakers on Sunday) and bounce back."
Aldridge had 11 points in the first quarter, and the Blazers finished it off with a steal and slam by forward Nicolas Batum with 19.9 seconds left to take a 32-21 lead. Dragic had seven points, but the rest of the Suns made a combined 11 of 16 shots from the floor in the first 12 minutes.
Portland pushed its lead to 37-21 on forward Joel Freeland's nine-footer with 10:37 left in the half. But that's when the Suns exploded offensively, scoring all of their season-high 40 points in the final 10:17 of the second quarter.
"It's tough because we had this game. We had control and we let it go," Batum said. "We know when this team gets on fire from (3-point range) you have to stop them. That's what happened to us tonight."
Phoenix guard Gerald Green's second 3-pointer in a 31-second span gave the Suns their first lead at 53-52 lead with 3:15 left, and the Suns stretched the lead to five by halftime. Dragic had 12 of his 19 first-half points and Frye had 11 of his 15 in the quarter.
The Suns took over control of the game with a 10-0 run to open the third quarter, with Dragic's 3-pointer stretching the Phoenix lead to 71-58 with 9:08 left.
"Those guys want to play slow in the half-court but we want to run and that's our advantage with them," Dragic said. "I was really proud of the way we came together and played well in the second, third and fourth quarter. Channing really stretched the floor and gives up open lanes to drive. He's a great player and we're happy that he's come back to help us."
NOTES: The Blazers came in shooting 41.8 percent from 3-point range, third in the NBA behind Golden State (.440) and Miami (.430). "We have five excellent 3-point shooters (G Damian Lillard, G Wesley Matthews, F Nicolas Batum, F Dorell Wright and G Mo Williams) shooting all of our 3-pointers," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "It's not far-reaching that each one of those guys can shoot 40 percent or better for the season." Portland was 7-for-19 on Wednesday ... Suns G Gerald Green is averaging 15 points per game and 40 percent from 3-point range -- career highs for the seven-year pro. Injuries to G Eric Bledsoe and G Goran Dragic have forced him to make 10 starts. "Gerald's been great. He's definitely a team guy," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "That's kind of our special guy who can light it up quickly." ... When the Suns beat Portland 104-91 here on opening night (Oct. 30), the Blazers had lost 14 in a row dating back to last season. Since then, the Blazers were 13-1 with 11 straight wins. ... Phoenix had made at least eight 3-pointers in each of the past six games, its longest stretch since March 2011.