CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire is letting his game do
his talking, and after a tough start, the Phoenix Suns look as if
they're serious Western Conference contenders.
The Suns trailed, 30-27, after one period at Charlotte, but crushed the Bobcats, 114-84. It was only the second time in franchise history that Phoenix won a road game by 30 or more points after trailing at the end of the first quarter. (The Suns previously did so at Sacramento in 1988.)
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Stoudemire had 22 points and 12 rebounds to help the Suns win
their 10th consecutive game, 114-84 over the Charlotte Bobcats on
Stoudemire had his seventh double-double in eight games as
Phoenix posted its biggest win during the streak.
"We played good basketball tonight," Stoudemire said. "That's
what it takes to win in this league. ... We took what the defense
gave us. We scored points in the paint and points outside the
"Our goal is to win the championship, and I feel if I can get
better we've got a better chance to win it."
points and 10 assists.
"We had different guys step up at different times," Phoenix
head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Let's face it -- we are on a
streak, and we don't want to mess it up by not having enough
energy. We'll get beat, but we want to make sure the other team
beats us and not beat ourselves."
Sean May scored a career-high 26 points for the Bobcats, who
suffered their third straight loss, all by 20 or more points. They
tied a franchise record for largest margin of defeat set two days
earlier against Houston.
and Matt Carroll had 12 each.
The Bobcats hit their first three shots and 9-of-13 in the
opening eight minutes, and took a 20-13 lead on Carroll's 22-footer
at the 4:07 mark. Charlotte led 30-27 after the first quarter.
But Phoenix opened the second quarter with a 13-8 run -- capped
by a Diaw layup with 7:58 left -- to take the lead, and were ahead
57-54 at halftime.
"We didn't play well in the first half, and we were still up
three points," Nash said. "We all realized that we were not very
good in the first half ... (and) we had to pick it up.
"If you want to win games in this league, you just can't walk
out and expect to win. You've got to go out and earn it. In the
second half, we earned it."
The Bobcats tied the score at 57 on Felton's 3-pointer to open
the third quarter, but Nash scored seven points during a 15-0 run
that put the Suns ahead 72-57.
Charlotte struggled to find its range in the second half,
shooting just 10-of-36 from the field and equaling its season low
with 13 fourth-quarter points.
"We were real stagnant offensively as far as movement. We're
not sharing the basketball. We're playing tight as a basketball
team," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We lack confidence
as a basketball team. The teams we are playing right now understand
how to kill and have the killer instinct. ... We have to perform,
it's that simple. We look at our starting unit right now, and we
are not getting much out of it."
Phoenix continued to stretch its lead, going up 90-71 at the end
of the third quarter and leading by as many as 36 points late in
the fourth quarter.
"We just have a lot of good players," D'Antoni said. "Every
guy can score. We passed the ball and weren't selfish, and just
took what the other team gave us. ... One thing I think we can
continue to do is keep getting better. I don't think we are there
yet, but we have a lot of good things going on."Game notes
Charlotte point guard Brevin Knight, the team's assist
leader and fourth-leading scorer, missed his second straight game
after straining his left calf in the Bobcats' loss to San Antonio
on Dec. 6. ... Bobcats rookie Adam Morrison's shooting woes
continued Sunday. He scored three points on 1-of-8 shooting, and
has gone 4-of-34 in his last four games.
- Joe DeRosa
- James Capers
- Gary Zielinski