Diaw dominates as Bobcats crush Suns
Larry Brown was in his first week of training camp in his record ninth NBA head coaching job when he invited his mentor, Dean Smith, to see his flawed Bobcats practice.
"I remember watching Coach Smith watch us and him saying, 'Are you sure you like coaching?' " Brown said.
How far the Bobcats have come since then was on display last night, as Boris Diaw dominated his former team with 26 points and 11 rebounds in host Charlotte's 98-76 rout of the slumping Phoenix Suns.
"It was an unbelievable great game," said Brown, clearly enjoying coaching now with the Bobcats having won five of six and 11 of 18. "I don't think we can play better."
Last month's deal that brought Diaw and Raja Bell from Phoenix for Jason Richardson has invigorated the Bobcats, who also got 28 points from Gerald Wallace.
The Suns committed 24 turnovers in their third straight loss, and Richardson was bottled up much of the night by Bell, finishing with 8 points on 3-for-9 shooting in his first game back in Charlotte.
"We need to figure out ways to just go out there and compete," said Richardson. "We can't expect to get wins just because we're the Phoenix Suns."
Shaquille O'Neal had 20 points for the Suns, who had been 8-0 against Charlotte.
But while the Bobcats don't resemble the poor teams of the past, these Suns are suddenly a bumbling bunch that has dropped five of six and is sinking fast in the Western Conference standings.
"I haven't seen them not scoring the ball like that," said Bell, who had 9 points and a career-high eight assists. "We probably caught them on the right night - and we were firing on all cylinders."
Cavaliers 106, Warriors 105 - LeBron James stepped back under pressure from Ronny Turiaf and knocked down a 19-footer to barely beat the buzzer, lifting Cleveland to a wild victory over host Golden State.
James finished with 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists, but also missed four free throws in the final period, including one with 22.7 seconds to play.
Pacers 107, Rockets 102 - Danny Granger scored 25 points to help host Indiana beat shorthanded Houston.
T.J. Ford added 21 points, and Troy Murphy had 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Pacers, who snapped a two-game losing skid.
Luis Scola led Houston with a career-high 25 points.
Timberwolves 116, Hornets 108 - Al Jefferson had 24 points and 14 rebounds in host Minnesota's victory over New Orleans.
Randy Foye had 24 points and eight assists, Rodney Carney scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, and the Timberwolves scored 52 points in the paint against the league's best post defense.
Spurs 94, Nets 91 - Tim Duncan had 30 points and 15 rebounds and Michael Finley hit a pivotal 3-pointer for host San Antonio to cinch the victory over New Jersey.
Knicks 108, Grizzlies 88 - David Lee had 19 points and 14 rebounds as host New York won three in a row for the first time since early November and increased Memphis's losing streak - which was started under the fired Marc Iavaroni - to eight.
Hawks 117, Bucks 87 - Flip Murray scored a season-high 25 points, Josh Smith had 24, and host Atlanta routed Milwaukee for its biggest victory of the season. Mike Bibby dished out 15 assists for the Hawks, who shot 56 percent from the field while winning their third in a row.
Raptors 114, Bulls 94 - Jose Calderon had 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting and added 10 assists in his return to Toronto's lineup, helping the visitors snap a seven-game losing streak with a victory over Chicago.
Mavericks 112, Pistons 91 - Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points, Josh Howard added 22, and Dallas rebounded from its worst performance of the season to rout host Detroit.
Clippers 107, Thunder 104 - Eric Gordon scored a season-high 41 points and Al Thornton had a season-high 34 points, leading host Los Angeles over Kevin Durant (46 points, 15 rebounds) and Oklahoma City.