Charlotte complied with his wishes, waiving House last season
while they finalized a trade for Kareem Rush.
House made the Bobcats pay for that decision on Friday night,
scoring 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the
Phoenix Suns to a 110-100 victory over Charlotte.
"I wasn't going to sit on the bench for a team that had zero
chance of going to the playoffs," House said.
House shot 10-of-18 from the field to help the Suns win their
third consecutive game. He hit back-to-back 3s in a critical fourth
quarter run to help Phoenix pull away in a game that was tied 19
House celebrated his big shots by pounding his chest, much to
the amusement of Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
"You know what he's good at? He can make shots, and boy he must
have a strong chest," Bickerstaff quipped.
In fairness to Bickerstaff, he let House decide last season
whether he wanted to stay or go when the coach closed in on a deal
for the bigger, more physical Rush.
"Bernie called me to his office and told me they were making a
trade for Kareem," House said. "At that point, I didn't want to
sit on the bench for an expansion team. It ended up working out."
House landed with Sacramento after he was let go, then signed a
two-year deal with the Suns in September and returned to Charlotte
ready to prove he could have made an impact with the Bobcats.
"Eddie is the firehouse of this team," said Shawn Marion, who
had 24 points and 13 rebounds. "When he gets it going, he gets it
going. He is definitely tough to stop when he gets in a groove."
Ironically, House had his big game on the same night Rush
returned to the lineup after a four-game absence with a sprained
finger. Rush shot 5-for-15 and finished with 11 points.
Steve Nash had 24 points and 13 assists for the Suns and Phoenix
outrebounded the undersized Bobcats 51-33.
With Phoenix trailing 89-87, Nash scored six straight points to
give the Suns a lead they wouldn't relinquish. House put it out of
reach with consecutive 3s to make it 100-94, then James Jones added
another 3 in a frantic set to make it 103-94. Charlotte needed a
timeout, and House yelled in excitement while pumping his fist in
the air as he headed toward the bench.
The win moved Phoenix to 3-0 on its current five-game road trip.
Charlotte lost for just the second time in its last six.
"I just thought it was a good effort all the way for us," said
Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni. "We grinded it out against a team
that is playing very well right now."
Emeka Okafor, who has missed five games with an ankle
injury, stopped by Charlotte's morning shootaround and was greeted
sarcastically by coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who asked "Didn't you
used to be Emeka Okafor?" ... Raja Bell is one of the rare players
to find a problem with the Bobcats' new arena, wrinkling his nose
and shouting "Man there is a foul smell in this building!" after
walking by a garbage-filled loading dock. ... With North Carolina
State in Charlotte for the Meineke Car Care Bowl, former Wolfpack
great David Thompson felt it appropriate to attend the Bobcats game
in a bright red sweater. ... Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child
fame performed at halftime.