Final - OT
  for this game

Barbosa stars in place of Nash as Suns beat Blazers

Feb 7, 2007 - 7:04 AM PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- Leandro Barbosa and Amare Stoudemire helped mitigate the loss of Steve Nash.

Barbosa and Stoudemire combined for 61 points, including the first 11 points in overtime for the Phoenix Suns, who held on for a 109-102 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Barbosa had 25 points - 17 after the third quarter - and seven assists in place of Nash, who injured his right shoulder in Monday's victory in Denver and was not active for this game.

"I was just trying to do my best, trying to make everybody feel comfortable like (Nash) always does out there and trying to get as many assists as possible and trying to make plays as well," Barbosa said. "I was feeling good and I think the whole group was playing well, especially at the end when we needed a bucket or two."

After Phoenix led virtually throughout, Portland forced overtime on a 3-pointer by Ime Udoka with 33 seconds left.

But Stoudemire converted a three-point play on a drop step to the baseline, then followed his own miss for a 101-98 lead with 2:45 left in the extra session. Stoudemire finished with 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting and nine rebounds.

"I think we needed a spark. I think my teammates did a great job of playing team basketball tonight," Stoudemire said. "It was definitely a team effort out there and we played great. It was a win that we wanted as a team and we came out and got it."

Barbosa then took over by knocking down a pair of 3-pointers that provided a 107-100 margin with 80 seconds to play.

"I'm just happy that my shots were going in," Barbosa said. "I would be upset if I didn't make the shots but what we were looking for was the win and that's what we were able to get."

Barbosa finished 10-of-20, including 3-of-4 from the arc.

"He came out in the second half and had an amazing half," Stoudemire said. "I think he had two points at half and came out and scored 23 in the second. It was pretty big on his part.

"You know L.B. has been a great force for us all year long. Tonight just pretty much proved that we have a great group of guys here and we can do it as a team."

Portland had its only lead in regulation at 7-6, but hung around and forged three ties in the fourth quarter, including on Udoka's 3-pointer. After Phoenix turned it over on the ensuing possession, Portland's Travis Outlaw took the ball at the right elbow, beat Stoudemire off the dribble down the right side of the lane but missed a bunny, electing to try and lay it through the iron instead of dunking it or banking it off the backboard.

"I was just caught up in the moment," Outlaw said. "Trying to get it in. Trying to score. If I had it back I would have dunked it. I should have dunked it. I can make all the excuses in the world but I should have made that lay-in."

Zach Randolph had 24 of his 33 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds for Portland, which has lost four of five.

"What can I say, just another tough loss," Randolph said. "I think we could have won this game. We still had our chances in overtime but didn't get it done. They are different without (Nash), but they're still tough and know how to compete. It was a good effort on both parts, they just got the victory."

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    PHOENIX 109

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