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Randloph stays hot, leads Blazers past Suns

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Zach Randolph has strung together a series
of big games, tapping into some of the continuity the Portland
Trail Blazers have been lacking.

Randolph had 32 points and 14 rebounds, and the Trail Blazers
snapped a four-game losing streak with a 111-101 victory over the
Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.

In his two previous games, he had 33 and 29 points.

"If he can learn to bring this every night, this is the kind of
consistency and commitment we need," coach Nate McMillan said.
"His last couple of games, I like the way he's approached them."

Steve Blake added 18 points and 13 assists for the Blazers, who
had lost nine of 10 and sit at the bottom of the Western
Conference.

"It is motivation," Blake said about upsetting the Suns. "If
you can't play for the playoffs, you've got to play for
something."

Shawn Marion had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, whose
six-game road winning streak was snapped.

"These are games we are supposed to come in there and take care
of business and get out of the way," Marion said.

The game was a complete turnaround from a Dec. 6 matchup, when
the Suns handed the Blazers their most lopsided loss of the season,
130-85.

The Blazers trailed 88-84, but went on a 9-0 run capped by
Randolph's layup and free throw to lead 93-88. Portland led the
rest of the way, and Randolph hit a 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds to
go to punctuate it.

After taking a hard hit from Randolph late in the game, Suns
guard Raja Bell fell to the court with his hands covering his face.
As he was helped off, he was clutching his neck, but the injury was
not believed to be serious.

Steve Nash had 13 points and 16 assists in his second game back
after missing Thursday's loss to San Antonio with a sprained right
ankle. He was back against Minnesota on Saturday night and tied his
season high with 31 points and 11 assists in a 110-102 Phoenix
victory.

"In the second half we really fought for it but it came down to
the fact that we really couldn't stop them tonight," Nash said.

The Suns jumped out to a 17-7 lead early, but Portland kept up,
taking over the lead late in the first half on Darius Miles'
20-foot jumper.

Randolph made a desperation halfcourt basket as time ran out in
the half to give the Blazers a 70-64 lead.

"I felt it," Randolph said. "I got a high arch on it and it
went in."

Randolph's third quarter tip-in put the Blazers up 65-54 for
their biggest lead of the game. Bell's 3-pointer with 1:31 left
briefly gave the Suns back the lead, at 75-74.

The Blazers are 20-42 and at the bottom of the Western
Conference.

The team's woes aren't limited to their play on the court. Team
owner Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle
Seahawks, maintains that the team is bleeding money and he can no
longer absorb the losses.

Allen has appealed for a public-private partnership to keep the
franchise viable.

"I've really enjoyed being the owner of the Trail Blazers. I've
tried hard to bring the city a championship. Now we are in a tough
rebuilding process with a broken financial model. We have asked for
help in fixing it," Allen said in a statement posted Friday night
on the Blazers' Web site. "If I have to sell the team or if it
can't continue, that will be sad."

Since the NBA trade deadline, when Allen first came forward with
his plea to city and state officials, the billionaire has not
attended a game.

Game notes
Randolph did not start for Portland because he was late to
report for Sunday night's game. ... Blazers center Theo Ratliff,
who returned to the lineup last week after missing 10 games with a
sprained ankle, went limping out of the game in the first quarter.
The team reported left ankle tendinitis, and he did not return.

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