Suns steamroll Blazers in Game 5
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PHOENIX (AP)When the Phoenix Suns win in this playoff series, they win by a mile.
Channing Frye and Jared Dudley rediscovered their shooting touch in a 107-88 rout of Portland on Monday night that has the Suns one victory away from eliminating the Trail Blazers from the playoffs.
Frye scored 20 points and Dudley 19, the leaders of a Phoenix second unit that played a major role in putting the Suns up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
"When everyone's getting involved," Dudley said, "it's hard to beat us."
Phoenix's three victories in the series have come by 29, 19 and 19 points, the losses by five and nine. The Suns can advance to the second round by beating the Trail Blazers in Portland on Thursday night.
The Phoenix reserves, an effective weapon in the regular season but not so much in the first four games of the playoffs, outscored their Portland counterparts 55-23.
"The second unit did a good job of getting themselves in the open court," coach Alvin Gentry said, "and when we do that with Channing and J.D. out there and they make a couple of 3-point shots for us, that makes all the difference in the world."
Frye, who spent the previous two seasons on the Portland bench, made 3-of-5 3-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds. Dudley was 5 of 9 on 3s.
"When they get going like that, we're a really good team," the Suns' Steve Nash said. "I think it's great for their confidence because we have a lot of confidence in them."
The Suns' two best 3-point shooters in the regular season, Frye and Dudley had been a combined 14 of 48 (29 percent) on 3s in the first four games of the series.
"To be honest, if I go 0 for 10, I could care less. It's not going to happen twice," Frye said. "That's how I feel every time I go out there, that it's only going to take one shot for me to get hot."
Amare Stoudemire scored 19, and Nash had 14 points and 10 assists for Phoenix.
Andre Miller scored 21, while LaMarcus Aldridge and Jerryd Bayless had 17 apiece for the Trail Blazers.
Portland All-Star Brandon Roy, in his second game back after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus just 10 days ago, drew three fouls in an ineffective 6 1/2 minutes in the first half. He finished with five points on 2-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes.
Roy has come off the bench in his two games back, but he said he will ask to start in Game 6.
"It's hard to get involved. I don't think the guys are quite used to me coming off the bench," he said. "It's hard for me to kind of get my touches and get into a rhythm."
The Trail Blazers made their first seven shots and were up 23-9, but it was fool's gold. The Suns had Portland playing in the up-tempo style in which Phoenix excels.
"Even when we were winning, we were playing their game," Aldridge said. "We were taking quick shots. They were going in so we felt good about it. But it really wasn't our style of play and I think the law of averages caught up. We don't really play that style of play. We should have slowed it down and played more of a halfcourt game."
On the other hand, the Suns weren't about to slow it down.
"They were making everything so it made it feel like we were running uphill," Nash said, "but I just felt like we had to think of this thing as long-term and think of it as the stock market. We're not day traders, we want to be very conservative and long-term in our investment in transition. You've got to stick with it from the start to finish."
The Suns tied it by late in the first quarter and Frye's 6-foot hook shot put Phoenix ahead for good 38-36. An 8-2 spurt over the final 2:17 gave Phoenix a 57-47 lead at the half. Frye and Dudley each had a 3-pointer in the run.
The closest the Trail Blazers got in the third quarter was 67-59 after Miller made a free throw with 4:14 to go.
Phoenix led by as many as 27 in the final quarter. The Suns dominated points in the paint 40-28 and had a 17-6 advantage in fast-break points. Phoenix, the NBA's highest-scoring team in the regular season, had just four fast-break points in each of its two losses in the series.
"You can't win when they're doing all that," Miller said. "Any time they get to the free throw (line) that many times and our turnovers lead to baskets and offensive rebounds lead to second-chance points, you're not going to win."
Phoenix made 27-of-29 free throws to the Trail Blazers' 17 of 24. The Suns outrebounded the bigger Trail Blazers 41-29.
"It's come down to the team who has been the aggressor," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "Tonight they pounded us on the boards. They outworked us on the boards."
NOTES: Suns C Robin Lopez, out with a back injury, was re-evaluated by a specialist and has been cleared for increased basketball activity. However, there is no word on when he might return to play. ... The winner of Game 5 after a 2-2 tie has gone on to win the series 83 percent of the time. ... If there is a Game 7, it will be Saturday in Phoenix. ... Take away Frye and Dudley, and Phoenix made 2-of-13 3s