Suns cruise past Blazers
Originally published January 6, 2012 at 10:16 p.m., updated January 6, 2012 at 10:57 p.m.
PHOENIX — Steve Nash made all seven shots, two of them 3-pointers, and handed out nine assists, then sat out the fourth quarter to watch his Phoenix Suns complete a 102-77 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Jared Dudley scored 18 and Nash 17 for the Suns. Marcin Gortat added 12.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 14 points for the Trail Blazers, who shot 33 percent, 28 percent in the first half. Portland’s Nicolas Batum scored 12. Jamal Crawford added 10 points but shot just 3 of 14.
The Trail Blazers, entering the game with the best record in the Western Conference at 5-1, played for the second night in a row and third time in four nights.
Phoenix had three reserves in double figures: Shannon Brown 14, Markieff Morris 13 and Hakim Warrick 12.
The Blazers entered the game third in the NBA with 102.8 points per game. They had won at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night and beaten the Los Angeles Lakers in Portland on Thursday.
On Friday, they were sluggish and sloppy from the start.
The Suns, shooting just 42 percent in their first seven games, made 11 of their first 13. Warrick’s fast-break dunk on a lob from Nash capped a 10-2 spurt that put Phoenix ahead 26-14 with four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Blazers never got closer than 11 in the second quarter and the Suns built their biggest lead of the half at 49-32 when Nash made a free throw following a technical foul against Crawford with 21 seconds left. Phoenix led 49-34 at the break, easily the lowest-scoring half for Portland and the lowest for a Suns opponent in the young season.
A pair of free throws by Raymond Felton cut the lead to 51-39 early in the third quarter, but the Suns scored the next 12 to blow open a 63-39 advantage when Nash found Gortat for a layup with 5:18 left in the period. Nash also had a 3-pointer and 17-footer in the run.
Crawford was just 1 of 9 shooting in the first half as Portland shot 28 percent (12 of 43). After their blistering beginning, the Suns went 8 of 31 the rest of the half to finish at 31 percent.
Nash was 5 for 5 shooting in the first half, including a 3-pointer, with six assists and no turnovers. He finished with three turnovers.
Gerald Wallace was 0 for 6 shooting for Portland with four turnovers.
Notes: The game featured the two oldest players in the league, Portland’s Kurt Thomas and Phoenix’s Grant Hill. Both are 39. Thomas is one day older. ... Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had a courtside seat next to Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes. ... Portland has scored at least 100 in its five wins and well under 100 in its two losses, at the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix. ... Nash needs four 3-pointers to pass Paul Pierce for ninth on the career list for 3s. ... The Blazers’ loss left Chicago and Miami as the league’s only one-loss teams.