Blazers outshoot Suns

The future is starting to look a little brighter.

The Blazers’ 111-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday evening proved that Portland has the talent to compete with and beat the best in the NBA.

Shooting an astounding 53.5 percent from the field, and led by Zach Randolph’s 32 points and 14 rebounds, the Blazers outgunned the Suns, while thrilling a near-packed house at the Rose Garden.

“This feels really great,” head coach Nate McMillan said, smiling. “We outplayed them tonight. Defensively, we did as good of a job as we could. And we scored 61 points in the second half. We took the momentum and held onto it.”

Portland received excellent all-around games from Steve Blake (18 points, 13 assists), Sebastian Telfair (11 points) and Viktor Khryapa (11 points, six rebounds).

The Blazers also shot 56.3 percent from three-point land and out-rebounded the Suns 45-30.

Perhaps most importantly, Portland did not fall prey to the “fourth quarter letdown” that has plagued the young team so often this year. As Randolph and Darius Miles traded long-range jumpers in the final period, the Blazers’ defense clamped down on Phoenix, holding the Suns to nearly 7 points below their season average.

“We had that solid heartbeat tonight,” Martell Webster said. “We played a full 48 minutes as one. We hit the open shots and didn’t let ourselves down.”

Showing a fire and intensity on defense that McMillan has fought and pleaded for over the course of the last month, Portland did an excellent job of preventing the Suns from opening up its most dangerous weapon: its running game. The Blazers limited Phoenix to only 7 fast-break points.

In doing so, the Blazers were able to maximize their own half-court offense. Whether it was Randolph soaking the net with pinpoint turn-and-fades, Blake knocking down three-pointers, or Telfair driving and pulling up for short-range twos, Portland consistently exploited the Suns’ weak defense throughout the game. In fact, the Blazers’ offensive prowess and defensive tenacity versus the Suns had the Rose Garden looking like something out of the early 1990s.