Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/8

Game 1: Friday, November 8th
Trail Blazers75Final
Suns86
Game 2: Tuesday, January 7th
Suns88Final
Trail Blazers81
Game 3: Wednesday, March 5th
Trail Blazers92Final
Suns98
Game 4: Tuesday, April 15th
Suns102Final
Trail Blazers120

Trail Blazers 92

(39-21, 19-12 away)

Suns 98

(33-28, 22-8 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 5, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 20 21 26 2592
    PHX 30 19 24 2598

    Top Performers

    Portland: R. Wallace 22 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast

    Phoenix: S. Marbury 33 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast

    Phoenix improves to 3-0 against Portland

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Stephon Marbury played a great game for Phoenix.

    Rasheed Wallace played a great half-game for Portland.

    Advantage Suns -- again.

    Marbury scored 33 points, his second 30-plus effort in as many nights, and Phoenix improved to 3-0 against the Trail Blazers this season with a 98-92 victory Wednesday night.

    "Any time you have a player of Marbury's caliber, he can take over a game," Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said.

    Marbury, coming off a 35-point, 48-minute performance in the Suns' 104-97 victory at San Antonio, topped 30 points for the ninth time in 14 games. Among NBA point guards, nobody is playing better.

    "If there is, you show him to me," Phoenix coach Frank Johnson said.

    He was 12-for-22 shooting and 6-for-6 from the foul line in 46 minutes as the Suns snapped Portland's four-game winning streak.

    The pair of victories against two of the Western Conference's strongest teams bolstered the Suns' fight to make the playoffs.

    "We needed them, man," Marbury said. "These are very important games. There's no time for fatigue."

    Shawn Marion put Phoenix ahead for good with the Suns' first four-point play in five years. Marion had 22 points -- 12 in the final 4½ minutes -- and grabbed 10 rebounds. Tom Gugliotta added 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting.

    Wallace scored all 22 of his points in the second half for the Blazers. Damon Stoudamire, in a rare 22 minutes on the court, added 10 points and five assists. Derek Anderson scored 16, Dale Davis 13 and Ruben Patterson 12.

    Scottie Pippen managed just one point and Bonzi Wells six. The Blazers took 26 3-pointers and made eight of them.

    "How many of them were challenged if you look at the stats," Anderson said. "You keep shooting when guys are open. You've got to believe that guys are going to hit them. You don't see Reggie Miller trying to dunk the ball. He's got to shoot because he's open."

    Penny Hardaway, sidelined for 24 games while recovering from surgery on his right thumb, was activated earlier in the day and played 15 minutes for Phoenix. With Hardaway and Gugliotta back, and Marbury playing so well, the Suns hope they have rediscovered their winning form.

    "Things haven't been going our way for about a month,'' Marbury said. "Maybe this is a sign that things are going to turn. If we just keep the belief that we are going to make the playoffs, that's the only thing that matters."

    The Suns withstood four 3-pointers by the Trail Blazers in the final 1:46 -- two by Wallace -- by going 11-for-12 at the foul line in the last two minutes.

    Game notes
    To make room for Hardaway, the Suns placed Alton Ford on the injured list with back spasms. ... Portland has the second-best road record in the NBA, 19-12, but is 0-2 in Phoenix ... The Suns are 23-10 with Hardaway playing, 10-14 without him. ... Marbury is the only NBA player in the top 10 in points and assists.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    POR
    PHX
    Points 92 98
    FGM-FGA 33-85 (.388) 36-72 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 8-26 (.308) 5-16 (.313)
    FTM-FTA 18-21 (.857) 21-24 (.875)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-39 7-40
    Assists 20 21
    Turnovers 11 13
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 2 3
    Fast Break Points 5 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 21 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Portland
    Phoenix
    Rasheed Wallace Wallace
    Points: 22
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 33
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0