Suns eliminate Blazers
PORTLAND — Jason Richardson scored 28 points, including five 3-pointers, and the Phoenix Suns advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 99-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 6 on Thursday night.
The third-seeded Suns will face seventh-seeded San Antonio, which advanced by beating Dallas 97-97 on Thursday night. The opening game of the Western Conference semifinals is Monday night in Phoenix.
The Suns last went to the second round in 2007, when they got past the Los Angeles Lakers to open the playoffs before falling to the Spurs. In 2008, the Spurs got the best of Phoenix in the first round.
Grant Hill of the Suns advanced past the first round for the first time in his career.
The Suns went up 53-41 at halftime and led by as many as 16 points in the second half. The Blazers tied it at 76 midway through the fourth quarter, but could not pull ahead.
Martell Webster had 19 points for Portland, which failed to advance out of the first round for the second straight year.
The Blazers narrowed it to 74-71 with 10:44 left on Rudy Fernandez's 3-pointer. Jared Dudley fouled Webster on a 3-point attempt, and Webster made two free throws to close within 74-73.
After Leandro Barbosa's bank shot, Jerryd Bayless hit a long jumper that pulled Portland within one. Amar'e Stoudemire fouled LaMarcus Aldridge, who made one of two free throws to tie it at 76.
Stoudemire's layup prevented Portland from taking the lead, and Goran Dragic added a rebound to put the Suns in front 80-76. Phoenix extended it on two consecutive layups and a 3-pointer from Richardson to make it 87-78 with 4:36 left.
Steve Nash sealed it with a 3-pointer that gave the Suns a 92-82 lead.
Brandon Roy had 14 points for the Blazers in his first start of the series. Portland's three-time All-Star had arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee two days before the series against the Suns opened.
He was originally ruled out of the first round, but unexpectedly came back for Game 4, which the Blazers won 96-87 at the Rose Garden.
Roy had 10 points in that game, then got just five in Portland's 107-88 Game 5 loss in Phoenix, but he was coming off the bench which he said made him uncomfortable.
The Suns are 6-1 in their last six potential series-clinching games.
Portland has never won a series that they have trailed 3-2.
NOTES: C Greg Oden was at Portland's shootaround earlier Thursday. The 7-foot former No. 1 draft pick broke his left kneecap and required season-ending surgery early in December. Oden addressed reporters during Thursday's shootaround, saying he was not yet doing any court-related workouts. ... Suns C Robin Lopez, who has a bulging disc in his back, participated in the Suns' shootaround but is not close to returning. It was unclear if he'd be available for the second round.