PHOENIX, MAY 25 -- So much for any excess psychological baggage the Phoenix Suns may have toted from a blown 22-point lead three nights ago. The Suns were so affected, they led Portland by 22 points after one quarter tonight.
They won, 123-89, before 14,487 at Veterans Coliseum to cut Portland's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven NBA Western Conference final series. Game 4 is here Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Game 5 will be Tuesday night in Portland.
The Suns won with an aggressive, attacking offense similar to the one they used to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, four games to one.
It took the Suns a while to find their pace against the Lakers, as it apparently did in this round against the Trail Blazers.
The Suns made 61 percent of their field-goal attempts tonight, 77 percent in the first half. The NBA record for field-goal percentage in a game is 66.3, set by the Lakers in a 135-88 victory over San Antonio on April 17, 1988.
The Suns dropped to 61 percent only after an eight-for-22 fourth quarter, played entirely by subs.
Forward Tom Chambers led the Suns with 24 points on a night that typified the Suns' shooting -- he made 11 of 13 field goal attempts. He is averaging 27 points a game in the series.
Suns guard Kevin Johnson had 17 points and 12 assists, and said the Suns put into use what they learned from a 108-107 loss in Portland on Wednesday.
"We learned if we get a 22-point lead, we need to make it 30, or 40," Johnson said on Thursday.
"When I saw we were up 22, I said no way. I never thought I'd be angry up 22, but I was," Johnson said tonight.
Suns starters missed only seven field-goal attempts in their 123 minutes. They were 35 of 42 (83 percent). They had 81 points and 26 rebounds.
Johnson was six of seven, Jeff Hornacek eight of 10, Mark West four of six and Kurt Rambis six of six.
"When things are going good, it seems like everyone makes the tough shots. Everyone sees the court better. Everyone makes good passes. You can't explain why it happens," Hornacek said.
"It all rolls on."
Portland shot a playoff-low 36 percent, and none of its players made as many as half his shots.
Jerome Kersey had a team-high 16 points, Clyde Drexler had 11 and rookie guard Byron Irvin 10.
"They were just very good and we were the other way," Portland Coach Rick Adelman said.
"We never got anything going the whole game. I have to give them a lot of credit, the way they came out and established themselves."
The Trail Blazers now have lost their last four playoff road games, three by more than 15 points.
"We're still in the driver's seat, two games to one," Trail Blazers forward Buck Williams said.
Portland guard Terry Porter began where he finished in the Trail Blazers' victory Wednesday, by making a jumper over Kevin Johnson, this time 13 seconds into the game instead of 13 seconds from the end.
But by the time the Blazers could make two more shots, the Suns had an 18-4 lead, scoring on their first nine possessions and making their first eight field-goal attempts.
The Suns' conscious attempt to push the ball up the floor was evident early -- seven of their first eight field goals were from five feet or closer.
"That's the way we play best," Chambers said.
This time, the Suns' 22-point lead grew. Phoenix had Portland doubled as late as 17 minutes into the first half, at 53-26. It led by 31, 65-34, when Rambis made a layup with 2:06 left in the half.
The Suns scored the first eight points of the third quarter to take a 36-point lead, 79-43, and by that time only peripheral questions remained.
How high could Suns fans elevate a noise meter, brought in for use by TNT television? The decibel level reached the low 100s during one timeout. How long would the regulars play? Portland replaced the last of its starters with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter. The Suns went completely second-string two minutes later.
When would the Suns reach 100? Kevin Johnson's free throws with 2:05 left in the third made it 101-57.
How large would the Suns' lead get? When Eddie Johnson followed Kevin Johnson's free throws with two of his own 59 seconds later, the Suns led by 46, 103-57.
The Suns led, 103-60, after three quarters.
"We did a better job keeping pressure on them," Chambers said.
Playoff Notes: Only six teams have come back from a two-games-to-none deficit to win an NBA playoff series -- Fort Wayne (1956), Boston (1969), Los Angeles (1969), Baltimore (1971), Portland (1977) and Golden State (1987). Suns assistant coach Lionel Hollins was a member of that Portland team, which spotted Philadelphia a 2-0 lead but won the final four to claim its only NBA championship.