Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/30

Game 1: Friday, December 30th
Suns110Final
Bobcats100
Game 2: Saturday, February 25th
Bobcats121Final
Suns136

Suns 110

(18-10, 8-4 away)

Bobcats 100

(10-20, 6-9 home)

    7:30 PM ET, December 30, 2005

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 27 29 25 29110
    CHA 23 30 27 20100

    Top Performers

    Phoenix: S. Nash 24 Pts, 5 Reb, 13 Ast, 4 Stl

    Charlotte: G. Wallace 15 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl, 3 Blk

    Phoenix 110, Charlotte 100

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- When the Charlotte Bobcats couldn't find enough playing time for Eddie House, the guard told them he wanted out.

    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 times.

    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.

    Keith Bogans came off the bench to lead Charlotte with 18 points. Gerald Wallace had 15, and center Primoz Brezec finished with 12 but failed to grab a single rebound in 21 minutes of play.

    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."

    Game notes


    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    PHX
    CHA
    Points 110 100
    FGM-FGA 42-85 (.494) 37-81 (.457)
    3PM-3PA 9-24 (.375) 10-20 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 17-24 (.708) 16-23 (.696)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-51 6-33
    Assists 29 24
    Turnovers 17 15
    Steals 9 7
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 7 13
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 13 5

    Top Performers

    Phoenix
    Charlotte
    Steve Nash Nash
    Points: 24
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 13
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0
    Gerald Wallace Wallace
    Points: 15
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 3