Blazers go retro, but can't hang with Suns

PORTLAND — Steve Nash had 23 points and 15 assists and the Phoenix Suns returned to the Portland's old Memorial Coliseum much same way they left it — with a victory over the Trail Blazers.

The Suns spoiled Portland's retro return to the birthplace of "Rip City" with a 110-104 win on Wednesday night. Leandro Barbosa scored 25 points, 12 of them in the fourth quarter.

Blazers center Greg Oden continued to show marked improvement over last season with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Oden joked afterward about how the game was a trip back in time, except for one small detail: The team's floor was brought over from the Rose Garden next door.

"It was our floor. If we would have a different floor it would have felt different," he said. "I did enjoy it, despite the loss."

Barbosa's 3-pointer, with a Nash assist, gave the Suns a 103-90 lead with 3:29 left in a game that had been close through the first three quarters.

Nash put Phoenix ahead 54-53 late in the first half with a jumper before LaMarcus Aldridge's layup game the Blazers the edge at the break.

Barbosa's 3-pointer put the Suns up 77-72 with 2:31 to go in the third. Phoenix extended it to 85-77 on Louis Amundson's dunk.

Amare Stoudemire had 15 points for Phoenix, as he continues to bounce back from a detached retina that required surgery and kept him out of the final 29 games last season.

"We play really well together so it will be great to get him back to speed," Nash said about Stoudemire.

Suns forward Grant Hill was sitting out with a sore ankle, replaced in the starting lineup by Carlos Powell. Goran Dragic played despite having a root canal on Tuesday.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan was frustrated his team never established any defense.

"We have to be hungry," McMillan said. "They have guys who stepped out on the floor tonight who are trying to make teams, make that team, or trying to get playing time outscrap us and outwork us."

Andre Miller led the Blazers with 25 points and six assists. Aldridge added 20 points.

The game at Memorial Coliseum was held as part of the Blazers' season-long 40th anniversary celebration. Portland was awarded a franchise in 1970 and the team played at the so-called "Glass Palace until 1995.

The Suns were the last team to visit the building, for a first-round playoff game on May 2, 1995. Phoenix won 109-117, led by Charles Barkley's 47 points.

Among those at Wednesday night's game were team founder Harry Glickman, former players Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter and Bobby Gross, as well as broadcaster Bill Schonely, who coined the phrase "Rip City." The Schonz, as he is known, called the second half of the game on the Blazers' flagship radio station.

"I think it's appropriate tonight to recall Bob Hope's theme song: Thanks for the Memories," Glickman said.

To mark the event, the Blazers wore throwback Rip City jerseys.

The Blazers won 54 games last season as the second-youngest team in the NBA. They fiddled with their roster a bit in the offseason, adding experience in Miller and Juwan Howard, and are hoping to take the next step after returning to the postseason.

Phoenix failed to make the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004, going 46-36 in a tumultuous year that saw Porter fired at the All-Star break and replaced with assistant Alvin Gentry.

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