Blazers torch Suns 110-99
Portland shoots 57 percent in taking 2-0 lead over Phoenix
Posted: Tuesday May 11, 1999 02:25 AM
Brian Grant scored 22 points, Rasheed Wallace had 21 and Damon Stoudamire had 22 points and 13 assists Monday night as the Trail Blazers defeated the Suns 110-99 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-5 Western Conference series.
"We played a nice game, but we'll have to turn it up or it could be different down there," Stoudamire said of Wednesday's Game 3 in Phoenix. "We're happy that we took care of business at home. We played well when we had to, but we didn't play a full game."
Isaiah Rider added 17 points for the Blazers, who shot 71 percent in the first quarter and 57 percent for the game.
"We've got to hope the rims are a little smaller for them in Phoenix," Suns coach Danny Ainge said.
Reserves George McCloud and Pat Garrity each had 15 points to lead the Suns, who have lost all five games to the Blazers this season.
Without scoring punch from his starters, Suns coach Danny Ainge was forced to go small with forward Danny Manning and guards McCloud and Garrity. The trio played well, but it wasn't nearly enough to stop the Blazers' wide range of scorers.
Two free throws by Manning pulled Phoenix to 67-66 with 2:22 left in the third, but the Blazers went on an 8-1 run to end the quarter leading 75-67.
"As far as I'm concerned," it's still zero-zero," Rider said. "That's a dangerous team, and if you take them for granted, they'll beat you. We've got confidence against them, period. But we've got to come out and do it all over again. We can't let down."
Longley missed all four of his shots and was held scoreless. Gugliotta scored eight points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Suns' Jason Kidd had 12 points and 12 assists, but only one point after halftime.
Chapman, who had nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in Game 1, scored just three points Monday night, making one of his two shots.
Portland jumped out to a 22-7 lead, making 10 of their first 14 shots while the Suns missed eight of their first 10. With the quarter winding down, Rider took a pass from Stoudamire, waited for Cliff Robinson to run past him, then sank a 41-foot shot at the buzzer.
"That first quarter was fun, but it wasn't too much fun when we let them back in the game in the second quarter," Wallace said.
The Blazers led by as many as 17 in that period, but then cooled off. The Suns got nine points from Manning and eight from Garrity off the bench to climb back.
A 3-pointer by McCloud cut the lead to 48-44, and after two free throws and a difficult finger-roll by Wallace, Garrity hit a 3-pointer from the top to pull the Suns within 52-47 at the half.
Even in victory, Blazers coach Mike Dunleavy was furious about his team's lax play in the fourth quarter, in which the Suns made four 3-pointers and made a rout look respectable. The 32-point quarter also showed that the Suns can be a quite different team when they make their outside shots.
"They probably eased up a little bit, and that brought us back in the game," Gugliotta said. "But once they turned the pressure back on, we lost composure."
Grant left the game with 4:17 remaining after falling hard to the floor trying to block Manning's shot. He said after the game that his right knee got kicked, and that it felt fine.
Notes: Longley, who scored just two points on 1-of-6 shooting in Game 1, got off to a horrendous start Monday, missing all four of his first-quarter shots. He played only 12 minutes. ... Chapman is 6-for-25 in three games against the Blazers this season. ... Robinson had 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting. He and Kidd were the only Phoenix players in double figures.
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