Phoenix slips by Portland

PHOENIX — Jared Dudley scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter and Grant Hill hit two key baskets, lifting the Phoenix Suns to a 93-87 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night for their fourth straight win.

The loss ended Portland's five-game winning streak and was only the Trail Blazers' second defeat in nine games. It left them in eighth place in the Western Conference.

Phoenix, meanwhile, moved into a virtual fifth-place tie with Oklahoma City with its fifth win in seven games during an 18-day homestand that ended Sunday. The Suns are 44-26, the first time this season they have been 18 games over .500.

The Suns accomplished all that despite having one of their worst shooting games of the season, connecting on only 38.8 percent of their field goal attempts.

Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Steve Nash had 17 points and eight assists, Jason Richardson scored 16 points, and Hill finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Brandon Roy led Portland with 23 points, but was only 8 of 25 from the field. Andre Miller scored 22 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 16, and Marcus Camby snared 16 rebounds.

A field goal by Dudley with 6:18 remaining put the Suns ahead for good, 79-78. He followed with his second 3-pointer, making it 82-78.

After Aldridge missed two free throws, Hill scored on a layup and a jumper, giving the Suns an 86-78 advantage. The closest Portland got after that was two points, 89-87, on a 3-pointer by Roy.

The game began with a series of runs, but had little pace or rhythm because neither team was shooting well, and it was fitting that the score was tied at 47 at halftime.

With the score at 7-all, Richardson scored seven consecutive points, but the Trail Blazers countered with 19-4 burst and led 26-18. The Suns followed with nine straight points, bridging the first and second periods, inching ahead 27-26. The half was marked by 11 lead changes and seven ties.

Of the Suns' first 18 points, Richardson and Stoudemire accounted for 17, with a technical foul shot by Nash the only other point by Phoenix. In fact, Richardson and Stoudemire combined for the Suns' only seven field goals in the first period.

Camby had 10 rebounds, including four off the offensive glass, the opening quarter.

Phoenix was hurt early when Nash incurred two fouls in the first 6 minutes and sat out the next 12 minutes. When he did return, he hit four quick field goals.

Aldridge and Miller carried the offensive burden for the Trail Blazers in the first half, each scoring 12 points.

Neither the pace nor the rhythm improved in the third quarter, when the Trail Blazers shot 9 for 25 and the Suns a pathetic 4 for 22. But by the end of the quarter, Portland had a 68-64 lead, thanks to Miller, who matched the Suns' field goal production with four and scored 10 points.

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