for this game

Diaw, Wallace lead Bobcats in rout of Suns

Jan 24, 2009 - 5:21 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- With a little extra motivation, Boris Diaw had the Charlotte Bobcats running and gunning.

Diaw collected 26 points and 11 rebounds against his former team and Gerald Wallace added 28 points as the Bobcats picked up their first victory over the Phoenix Suns, 98-76, on Friday.

Charlotte has won five of its last six contests as the team continues to improve under coach Larry Brown. The transformation shifted into high gear with the December acquisition of Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary via a trade that sent Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley to Phoenix.

"We have a winning mentality as a team," Diaw said. "We have been beating good teams lately - Boston, Detroit and now the Suns. It was a lot of fun. It was weird starting the game, but after a while you get used to it and it was just another game."

Shaquille O'Neal registered 20 points and seven rebounds to pace the Suns, who had won all eight previous meetings against Charlotte but have lost five of their last six games overall.

"We just played better," Brown said. "Our defense was about as good as we've played. It was an unbelievably great game. I don't think we could have played any better."

Charlotte clearly had the upper hand in the first meeting since the blockbuster trade. The Bobcats' trio of Diaw, Bell and Singetary accounted for 36 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists compared to 16 points and 10 rebounds by the Suns' newcomers.

"It was an emotional night for three of us," Bell said. "We wanted to stay level-headed and treat it like any other game, but there were emotions and a little extra motivation. I'm happy first and foremost because we came out as a team and really played well tonight.

"It happened to be against the Suns, which was really cool, but the fact is we're getting better as team night in and night out."

The Bobcats took control early and never looked back.

Wallace capped a 17-2 run with eight straight points for a 19-6 advantage in the first quarter, but O'Neal helped Phoenix closed the gap to 34-27 in the second before an explosive Bobcat run again ballooned the advantage.

"When your offense starts off the game ticking the way ours was, the confidence starts to go and we just took off from there," Wallace said.

Diaw drained a 3-pointer to spark a 12-0 spurt, which also included a three from Bell.

Charlotte shot 62 percent (13-of-21) from the floor in the second quarter and led 59-37 at the break.

Diaw continued his strong play in the third, netting 14 of the team's 22 points while the Bobcats held the opposition to less than 40 percent shooting.

"We went out and we played this game from the first quarter to the fourth quarter as a team," Wallace said. "We executed on offense. We executed on defense and we took care of the things we needed to take care of."

The Bobcats opened the final period with a 9-1 run to take the game's largest lead at 34 points, 90-56.

"We turned the ball over a lot," Phoenix coach Terry Porter said. "That really put us behind the eight ball. It's hard to win when that happens."

Amar'e Stoudamire was the only other Suns player in double figures with 12, as Phoenix dropped its third straight.