Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell and Shawn Marion led eight players in double figures with 16 points apiece Tuesday night in the Suns' 115-83 win over the Bobcats, who lost point guard Raymond Felton to a left knee injury.
The Suns, who had been concerned with their high-octane offense in a 2-1 start that included a blowout home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, shot 50 percent, committed only 10 turnovers and led by as many as 34 points in their highest-scoring game of the season.
"It was pretty good," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're still not clicking all the way, but we definitely did some good things tonight."
The Bobcats, who had been 2-0 for the first time in their
four-year history, learned better news later in the evening, when
an MRI determined Felton suffered no ligament damage.
"He's the main guy that runs the offense. He's the guy that gets all of us going," forward Gerald Wallace said. "He's the one guy, of any guy on this team, that we can't afford to lose. ... We can't even afford to have him banged up. That's how important he is to this team."
Felton was still in the game with Charlotte trailing by 33 points late in the third quarter when he drove the lane and made a spin move on Steve Nash, who fell down. Felton then came down awkwardly on his left leg next to Nash, who was called for a foul.
Felton got up to take the free throws. But after missing the second shot, Felton fell to the floor and clutched his knee.
"He felt some sort of, I don't know if he said a pop or a twinge," coach Sam Vincent said.
Initial X-rays were negative, but Felton was taken to the hospital for further tests, which also were negative. The team's
flight to Philadelphia late Tuesday was held up for Felton, who is
listed as a game-time decision for Wednesday's game against the
It provided some good news on an awful night for Vincent, who lost his first game as an NBA coach as the Bobcats dropped to 0-7 all-time against the Suns. Rookie Jared Dudley scored 16 points, most coming after the game was long decided.
"That Phoenix team is a tough team. They play well together," Vincent said. "They just kind of overmatched us tonight.
Felton and Wallace added 12 points apiece and Jason Richardson scored 11, but they combined to shoot 12-for-34. The Bobcats shot 37 percent and committed 24 turnovers.
"We always play defense," said Marion, who had 11 rebounds. "It just gets overshadowed because our offense is so exhilarating."
They did it by running and attacking the inside. Phoenix had 52 points in the paint despite Stoudemire missing his second straight game with pain in his right knee.
Grant Hill led the Suns' dominant front line early. He had nine points in the first quarter as the Suns built a 29-21 lead.
Barbosa's reverse layup on a bullet pass from Nash made it 49-31. Bell's 3-pointer gave Phoenix its first 20-point lead with 2:10 left in the second quarter.
It was 59-37 at halftime after Sean Marks' thunderous dunk. The lead reached 30 midway through the third quarter.
Before the game, Stoudemire seemed confident he'll play Wednesday in Atlanta. "No doubt. I feel better about playing [Wednesday] night," Stoudemire said. "I just don't want to jump out there too soon." ... The Bobcats have also never beaten Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis. ... The Suns have scored at least 110 points in all seven games against the Bobcats. ... The Suns wrap up their road trip with three more games against East teams.