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O'Neal, Stoudemire, Nash power Suns past Blazers

Nov 23, 2008 - 6:11 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash paced a balanced attack as the Phoenix Suns bounced the Portland Trail Blazers, 102-92, on Saturday.

The victory was Phoenix's 11th straight over Portland.

"Everybody contributed. Raja (Bell) and Matt (Barnes) struggled early and their shots wouldn't go down but they hung in there and made some big shots when we needed them," Suns coach Terry Porter said. "Shaq had 19 points and 17 rebounds. He really is doing a great job. We shot a high percentage. They shot 90 shots but a lot of those were second chances."

O'Neal enjoyed the advantage in his matchup with Greg Oden, collecting 19 points and 17 rebounds. Oden, the top draft pick in 2007, came off the bench and contributed five points and one rebound.

"The next Shaq lives with me, my own son," O'Neal said. "He (Oden) is a big guy and does what he is suppose to do, but I was a special case. David Robinson was a special case. There are only a couple of special cases and they come around once in a while.

"Yao is special because of his height. Guys like Oden and (Andrew) Bynum are 7-foot but it is going to take them a couple of years to get to that dominate level. I am the Shogun and before you get to the Shogun you have to go through a bunch of ninjas, Dwight Howard, Yao Ming."

Stoudemire added 16 points, Nash scored 15, while Grant Hill netted 15 off the bench for Phoenix, which outscored Portland in each of the first three quarters en route to a 72-62 lead.

"We came out strong and wanted to set the tone early in the third quarter," Stoudemire said. "I took it upon my self to crash the boards and Shaq did a phenomenal job out there on the rebounds. We definitely wanted to bring defensive intensity out there and get the win. We played as hard as we could."

Bell also helped out, chipping in with 14 points.

"It is no secret that when run we can put up a lot of points," Bell said. "I don't think that was any more new news. It was good that we were able to do that because they were hanging around, and we were able to extend it a bit. We just made an effort in the third quarter to be more aggressive.

"I know everybody makes a big deal about what is going on with our offense, but it is a work in progress. In the fourth quarter, we were able to get back to a place that is more familiar for us and when you do that sometimes there are less mistakes then when you are trying something new."

Brandon Roy scored 26 points and Steve Blake added 22 for the Blazers.

"I don't look at the big streak because we haven't beat any of the good teams on the road," Roy said.

Porter likes the strides the Suns are making.

"When we don't turn it over, we don't allow our opponents to get easy baskets and in this league turnovers lead to easy points for your opponents," Porter said. "We did a much better job in the third quarter at not turning the ball over as much as critical times. I thought our defense was solid in the second half, scoring 31 and 30 points is a pretty good way to finish out the second half."

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