Phoenix (24-16) at Charlotte (18-19)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Charlotte, NC
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Sat Jan 16, 2010
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The Charlotte Bobcats knew all about Boris Diaw’s(notes) skills when they acquired him from the Phoenix Suns last season. The veteran forward has been particularly good at showcasing those talents lately.

Diaw and the surging Bobcats look to extend their franchise-best home winning streak to seven Saturday night when they face a Suns team that’s dropped nine of 10 on the road.

After averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds during a 15-game stretch from Dec. 8-Jan. 7, Diaw has averaged 17.3 points and 9.3 boards as Charlotte (18-19) has won three straight. He made all four of his 3-point attempts and posted his second double-double of the season Friday with 26 points and 11 boards in the Bobcats’ team-record sixth straight home victory, 92-76 over San Antonio.

“I told him after the game that we’re going to be hard to beat if he’s aggressive,” said Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson(notes), who is 14 points shy of 10,000. “There are not too many 4-men in this league that can handle the ball, shoot, pass at that size. I think he frees up a lot of stuff on the offensive end for me and Gerald (Wallace) when he can pick and pop or make plays for us.”

Diaw, acquired Dec. 11, 2008, in a six-player deal that sent Jason Richardson(notes) and Jared Dudley(notes) to the Suns, averaged 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in 59 games for Charlotte in 2008-09, but his production has dipped to 10.5 and 4.6 this season.

Following a 110-102 home loss to Utah on Dec. 19, Wallace openly criticized Diaw and Bobcats center Tyson Chandler(notes) after Wallace grabbed 13 rebounds and the pair combined for eight.

“You look between our 4-man and our 5-man, we got eight rebounds,” Wallace said. “I don’t think we’re taking pride in our defensive assignments, personally. We’re not coming out and taking pride in helping our teammates.”

The same cannot be said now, though, as the Bobcats have not dropped a game at Time Warner Cable Arena since that loss, thanks in part to the league’s top scoring defense at 92.5 points per game.

Charlotte, which is holding teams to 87.5 points during its home winning streak, will face a Phoenix team that is averaging a league-best 106.0 points on the road. The Suns (24-16), though, have one victory away from Phoenix since Nov. 29.

Friday’s 102-101 loss to Atlanta may have been the most painful of the season for the Suns. Phoenix led 100-96 with 10 seconds left, but Hawks guard Jamal Crawford(notes) made a layup off a missed free throw with six seconds remaining then nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to drop the Suns to 0-2 on their four-game trip.

“It was just unlucky,” Steve Nash(notes) said of Crawford’s performance in the final seconds.

Phoenix makes its first visit to Charlotte since a 98-76 loss on Jan. 23. Wallace scored 28, Diaw added 26 with 11 rebounds against his former teammates and the Bobcats held the Suns to a season-low 36.0 percent from the field while beating Phoenix for the first time in nine meetings.

Diaw had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 112-102 loss in Phoenix on Feb. 24.

Suns forward Amare Stoudemire, averaging 23.0 points and 11.6 rebounds in the last five games, needs 18 points to reach 10,000. He had 12 points and nine boards in last season’s loss in Charlotte.

The Suns host the Bobcats on Jan. 26.

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Saturday, Jan 16