Hornets
Suns
106 - 115 Final - OT
  for this game

Hot-shooting Barbosa leads Suns over Bobcats

Mar 8, 2007 - 7:00 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Lightning-quick Leandro Barbosa did most of his damage standing still.

Barbosa scored a career-high 32 points, including seven 3-pointers, and Steve Nash had 24 points and 11 assists as the Phoenix Suns used hot shooting en route to a 115-106 overtime victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Shawn Marion had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, who played most of the second half and the extra session without Amare Stoudemire. The All-Star forward was ejected early in the third quarter after picking up his second technical for throwing the ball at Bobcats guard Matt Carroll.

"I'm pretty tired of coming up here and giving excuses, they are just not focused and not playing hard enough," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "You can tell by technicals and having other stuff that we don't need to do. We need to get refocused; they did a great job of holding them off at the end, playing well at the end."

After reaching 14 technicals, Stoudemire now is just two shy of the league limit. If he reaches 16, Stoudemire will be suspended one game for every technical he receives thereafter.

"We talked about (the technicals)," D'Antoni said. "I told him he couldn't do it anymore, and he goes out and gets two. You have to go out and talk to him about it, that's all we can do. Having 14 technicals is not the best thing in the world."

One of the fastest players in the league, Barbosa can get from one end of the court to the other in the blink of an eye. On Wednesday, he was a lethal marksman from the arc, nailing numerous wide-open 3-pointers off feeds from the penetrating Nash.

"I was open, wide open," Barbosa said. "(Nash) found me a lot of times, and Raja (Bell) found me a lot of times, so it was comfortable for me to make the shots. I think if I have a wide-open shot. I am not thinking about the shot I am just shooting."

Barbosa was 11-of-20 from the field, including 7-of-11 on 3-pointers.

"(Barbosa's) incredible, big shots one after the other," D'Antoni said. "When he misses a 3-pointer now it's like, 'What's wrong?' His level of play is way up there."

After missing a potential game-tying layup with six seconds left in regulation, Nash nailed a shot from the arc just 13 seconds into the extra session to spark the late blitz. Phoenix outscored Charlotte, 17-8 in overtime to secure the victory.

The two-time MVP shot 8-of-14 from the field, including 2-of-6 on 3-pointers, for the Suns, who nailed a season-high 19 shots from the arc - one shy of a franchise record.

"We can get whatever we want," Nash said. "We made lots of threes, and they were wide-open threes, but we could have gotten more inside and by the basket. Tonight, we lived by the three and we didn't need to. But a lack of energy and decisiveness left us taking all those perimeter jump shots."

Leading by four points in overtime, the Suns pulled away thanks to an impressive sequence by Marion, who blocked Charlotte center Jake Voskuhl's shot, ran the floor and slammed home an alley-oop dunk off a feed from Nash to make it 108-102 with 2:24 left.

Gerald Wallace collected 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Bobcats, who shot 44 percent (42-of-95) and absorbed their seventh straight loss.

"We kept ourselves close. We never made a big mistake, never got down when they went on their runs," Wallace said. "We were able to hang in. They're the type of team that is going to let you back into the game every now and then. Once we got back into the game, we were able to slow it down and play our pace."

Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff admitted the team switched to zone as a desperate measure. Forward Emeka Okafor sat out his sixth straight game with a strained calf.

"It's a personnel thing," Bickerstaff said. "Sometimes, you do things out of necessity. As I said before, a drowning man will grab a razor blade."








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    CHARLOTTE 106
    PHOENIX 115 FINAL IN 1ST OT

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