PHOENIX, MAY 28 -- These days, the return leg of a Portland road trip is almost always made with a limp.
Portland will play Phoenix in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference finals Tuesday (9 p.m., WUSA-TV-9) at Memorial Coliseum, seemingly its only safe port in the playoffs.
The Trail Blazers lost consecutive games Friday and Sunday in Phoenix to even their series with the Suns at two games apiece, and increasing their road playoff losing streak to five.
The Suns won by 34 and 12 points in Phoenix after losing by two and one in Games 1 and 2 in Portland.
All that probably would trouble the Trail Blazers more if they had not won all eight of their 1990 home playoff games.
"Dominated? Not at all. We feel good. We just haven't regained the form we had at the end of the regular season," Portland guard Clyde Drexler said after the Suns' victories, 123-89 on Friday and 119-107 on Sunday.
"It's a two-way street. I don't think a lot of teams are winning on the road," Portland Coach Rick Adelman said.
The Trail Blazers have done this sort of thing before. Portland won all 10 of its home playoff games in its 1977 championship season, beating Chicago, Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia. It was 4-5 on the road that season.
But interspersed among Portland's eight 1990 home playoff victories are losses by 23, 10 and 15 points in San Antonio, and now two decisive losses in Phoenix. The Trail Blazers have not won a road game since eliminating Dallas, 106-92, in the third game of a first-round series at Reunion Arena.
The Suns "are going to come into Game 5 fired up. They probably think they have all the momentum going for them," said Portland forward Jerome Kersey, who is averaging 23.3 points in this series.
"But it doesn't matter if you win by one or by 20. It's a win or a loss. You have to be very positive about having a Game 5 at home. It's the most pivotal game in the series. It's like a championship game. Whoever wins this game controls it."
Drexler added: "Phoenix played very well on its home court. It's up to us to do the same."
If anything, the Suns seemed anxious to return to Portland, although they have not won there since Game 5 of the 1984 playoffs, a streak of 19 games. Portland has won 20 straight regular season home games against Phoenix.
The Suns, who clinched 1990 playoff series against Utah and the Lakers with victories on the road, seemed prepared to break their losing streak in Portland in Game 2.
But the Trail Blazers overcame a 22-point deficit and won, 108-107, when point guard Terry Porter made a 10-foot jump shot with 12 seconds remaining. Portland won Game 1, 100-90, when center Kevin Duckworth made a 10-foot jump shot off a Porter pass with 17 seconds left.
"We've controlled the games up there. We just have to hold our ground," said Suns forward Tom Chambers, averaging 27 points a game in this series.
The Trail Blazers have been better able to control tempo at home against the Suns, who have not won this season in nine games (three playoff games) when they were held under 100 points.
"We didn't have the demeanor and attitude the first two games up there," said Suns point guard Kevin Johnson. "I feel good about the chances of running the Phoenix Suns' tempo when we go to Portland.
"You can't say we've dominated, but we feel very good about our chances. We did two days of work down here. We feel good about that. We're satisfied, but we're not content. Had we taken care of business earlier, we may not have had to make this trip."