NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 24th (All times eastern)
Charlotte Bobcats (22-34) at Phoenix Suns (31-24), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns hope to get back on the winning track Tuesday when they welcome the Charlotte Bobcats to town for the finale of a three-game homestand.
The Suns faltered in their last outing on Sunday when Boston's Rajon Rondo shined in Kevin Garnett's absence, scoring a career-high 32 points, dishing out 10 assists and grabbing six rebounds in the Celtics' 128-108 win over Phoenix, as new Suns head coach Alvin Gentry suffered his first loss since taking over for Terry Porter.
Boston shot an amazing 63.0 percent (46-of-73) from the field, while going to the line 40 times -- making 28 -- and outrebounding Phoenix, 40-26.
Steve Nash had 19 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who failed to score 140 points for the first time under Gentry. Jason Richardson tallied 21 points, while Leandro Barbosa had 18 points, as Phoenix's three-game win streak came to an end and the team fell to 16-11 as the host this season.
Shaquille O'Neal had 17 points and six rebounds, and Matt Barnes had 10 points for the Suns.
Phoenix was the first team since the Portland Trail Blazers in 1990 to score at least 140 in three straight games. No NBA team had ever recorded four consecutive 140-point games, while the aforementioned Blazers squad is the last club to score 130 points or more in four straight contests.
The Suns continue to toil without All-Star power forward Amare Stoudemire, who underwent eye surgery last Friday to repair a partially detached retina. Stoudemire, who is averaging 21.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in 53 games this season, is expected to miss at least eight weeks of action.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, opened a five-game road trip in losing fashion on Sunday in Houston when Ron Artest scored a game-high 26 points, pulled down seven rebounds and dished out four assists, as the Rockets dominated Charlotte, 99-78.
The Bobcats were paced by Emeka Okafor, who contributed a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. Boris Diaw and Raymond Felton also scored 13 points for Charlotte, which has dropped eight of its last 11 outings and is now just 6-19 on the road.
The Bobcats will finish their trek with visits to Sacramento, Golden State and the LA Clippers.
The Bobcats beat Phoenix for the first time in their short history earlier this season, a 98-76 rout in Charlotte on January 23. The Bobcats have never won in the Valley of the Sun, however, compiling an 0-4 record.
02/24 10:45:50 ET