PHOENIX So why is seven such an unlucky number?
The Charlotte Bobcats never topped seven victories last season. This season win No. 7 came 12 games in. They were confident, sassy, resourceful.
Thirteen losses later, victory No. 8 still is a hypothetical. Wednesday the Phoenix Suns no ones definition of an elite NBA team built a 30-point lead on the Bobcats before cruising to a 121-104 victory at U.S. Airways Center.
The Suns (11-15) should be the Bobcats peer this season. When someone suggested during the pregame media availability that Phoenix might look past the Bobcats, coach Alvin Gentry bristled, responded his players had no business underestimating any opponent.
Still, the 7-18 Bobcats provided little resistance. Most telling were the 15 turnovers they committed through three quarters, resulting in 22 Phoenix points. The Suns outscored the Bobcats 36-19 during the second quarter, when Charlotte committed eight turnovers.
Tonight we turned it over a lot, said point guard Kemba Walker, who finished with a game-high 27 points. We really couldnt ever get into a flow.
The Suns sure got in a flow, particularly ex-Bobcats guard Shannon Brown, who finished with 26 points and hit five 3-pointers. The play that summed up this game happened early in the third quarter, when another ex-Bobcat, Jared Dudley, stripped Byron Mullens of the ball near the 3-point line.
Dudley initiated a break, finding Brown with a bounce pass for a perfectly timed tomahawk dunk. The play 32 seconds into the second half was so dynamic it forced the Bobcats to take a 20-second timeout, down 22.
The only saving grace was Charlotte chipping down a 30-point deficit to 14 with about four minutes left. That was cosmetic at best, but it did showcase rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Thats the second time he has done that this season. Kidd-Gilchrist joined reigning NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James as the only players under 20 to post two games of 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Its important that we played hard down the stretch, said Kidd-Gilchrist, who made nine of 14 shots from the field and seven of eight free throws. In the fourth quarter, we played really well. There were not all bad things in this loss.
True enough. But its still a bakers dozen straight defeats, and the schedule is less than kind. This West Coast trip will head to Golden State and Denver before a Dec. 26 home date with the NBA champion Miami Heat.