Hornets
Suns
104 - 118 Final
  for this game

Barbosa helps Suns remain undefeated vs. Bobcats

Feb 5, 2008 - 5:57 AM By Bob Huhn PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHOENIX (Ticker) - Leandro Barbosa poured in 19 of his 30 points in the first quarter as the Phoenix Suns continued their dominance over the Charlotte Bobcats, 118-104, on Monday night.

All-Star Amare Stoudemire collected 24 points and 11 rebounds and Raja Bell also netted 24 - including seven 3-pointers - for the Suns, who improved to an impressive 20-2 against Eastern Conference foes.

With the win, Phoenix and Dallas remained as the only two teams which have never suffered a setback to the Bobcats, who fell to 0-8 all-time in the series with the Suns.

Phoenix, which shot an impressive 16-of-36 from the arc, was coming off one of its worst offensive outputs of the season with Thursday's 84-81 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

"I love to play against the zone," Barbosa said. "(Monday) almost the whole game they were playing zone and that got us open shots. With the zone, there is always going to be someone open and guys got the ball to the open man."

"I think Barbosa kept them alive in the first half and Bell just got a lot of confidence," Bobcats forward Jason Richardson said. "They figured out our zone and they started to make shots."

The Suns struggled in the opening half until Shawn Marion's 30-foot buzzer-beating runner capped a 13-5 surge to help grab a 54-51 advantage at intermission.

"We were kind of sleeping out there. We started a little slow then warmed up," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We were taking threes and we finally started hitting them. (Barbosa) gave us a boost in the first half and Raja kicked it in, in the second half."

Sparked by Bell's 15-point outburst in the third quarter, the Suns pulled away for good by outscoring the Bobcats, 33-23, to grab an 87-74 edge heading into the fourth.

Phoenix continued to add to its cushion behind a 10-3 run to open the fourth, extending the lead to 97-77 on Bell's seventh 3-pointer of the game.

"You just shoot them and, sometimes, they go and sometimes they don't," Bell said. "There are nights when you know you are going to be open a lot and against the zone it is generally someone out along the perimeter."

Richardson scored 25 points and Raymond Felton chipped in 19 for Charlotte, which played its second straight contest without high-flying forward Gerald Wallace (ankle).

The Bobcats finished 1-4 on their five-game tour of the Western Conference.

"We wanted to get them out of their normal tempo, and it worked for a period," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "Then all of sudden they made a couple of threes and started getting more confident."








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    PHOENIX 118 FINAL

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