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Brown burns old team as Suns beat Bobcats 117-110

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats gave up on guard Shannon Brown when they traded him in 2009, and Wednesday night they paid dearly for it.

Brown exploded for six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including two that served as daggers in the final 3:09, as the Phoenix Suns squandered a 15-point second-half lead but regrouped down the stretch to beat the Bobcats 117-110.

The 6-4 Brown, traded by Charlotte to the Lakers in 2008 in a multi-player deal that included Adam Morrison, finished with a team-high 24 points. That's 13 more than his average coming into the game.

"He's very capable of doing that," Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry said. "He gets on a roll and watch out. He's had some games like that for us last year - maybe not six threes in a quarter, but he's had some big shots for us when it counted most. He's a very confident player and when he gets on a roll, he's one of those guys the rim looks really big. Obviously, all those shots were big for us."

Brown claimed no vindication afterward, saying that he was just happy to help the Suns (2-3) end a three-game East Coast road trip on a winning note. The Suns similarly blew a 15-point lead and lost at Orlando to open the trip and then were blown out by Miami on Monday.

"I'll do whatever the team needs me to do, whether it's rebounding, whether it's defense, whether it's passing - whatever they need me to do, I'm going to go out and try to make it happen," he said. "Tonight it was scoring. I just got hot and just continued to shoot.

"All of them felt good. My coaches and teammates did a great job of getting me the ball when it counted, so I've got to give them credit, too."

Marcin Gortat had 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots for the Suns. Michael Beasley had 21 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists; Goran Dragic scored 16; and Jared Dudley and Markieff Morris scored 10 each.

Byron Mullens led Charlotte (1-2) with 24 points and eight rebounds. Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions scored 17 each, Ben Gordon scored 12, and Tyrus Thomas finished with 10. The Bobcats played without Gerald Henderson, who is expected to miss at least two weeks with a sprained left foot.

The Suns took control of the game quickly, shooting 63.2 percent from the field in the first quarter to take a 31-22 lead after one. They pushed that lead up to 60-46 at halftime, and led 80-65 midway through the third quarter.

But the Bobcats roared back behind the shooting of Mullens, who had six 3-pointers himself, and Charlotte eventually tied the game 85-85 a minute into the fourth quarter.

That's when Brown started taking over. He hit a 3-pointer to give the Suns the lead for good at 88-85, hit two more shortly after that, and then provided the daggers down the stretch. His 3-pointer with 3:09 left put the Suns up 108-101, and then he capped it with another 3-pointer with 1:14 left for a 112-103 lead. The Bobcats never got closer than four after that.

"We were all screaming like, ‘Don't do it,' and then ‘Great shot, Shannon,'" Gortat said. "I mean, you've got to keep shooting. When you're making all those threes, you've got to keep shooting. I mean, if I make one, I'm launching the next one."

Gortat and Gentry were both disappointed that the Suns couldn't hold onto their 15-point lead, but they felt good that the team regrouped this time.

"We did this a few days ago and ended up losing a game, actually getting blown out," Gentry said. "We did it again tonight, but we were able to rectify the situation and get a win. So hopefully we're headed in the right direction."

Added Gortat, "I think we played a little better game than the last two. It was a very good first half and then unfortunately in the second half a totally different team came out. That can't happen. We've got to play 48 minutes. That was our big issue last year and we hope that's not the case this year, but we've got to work on it."

The Bobcats tried to take something good out of the loss.

"I was talking with some of my teammates, and if we would have fallen behind by 15 last year, that would have been the game," Mullens said. "I think we were down 80-65 and if that would have happened to us last year, we would have been out of it. We came back really good, tied it up. But I don't know, they hit some big-time threes on us."

NOTES: Charlotte will face Dallas at home on Saturday night, and Phoenix will return home to face Cleveland on Saturday.
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