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Suns 117, Bobcats 110

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Shannon Brown scored 24 points and put on a dazzling shooting exhibition in the fourth quarter with five 3-pointers as the Phoenix Suns beat the Charlotte Bobcats 117-110 on Wednesday night.

Brown, a former Bobcat, came to the rescue after the Suns squandered a 15-point second-half edge and had to pull back away in the final 10 minutes. He was 6 of 8 from 3-point range.

His 3-pointer with 3:09 remaining - his fourth of the period - gave the Suns a 108-101 lead, and then his fifth trey put the Suns up 112-103 with 1:14 remaining. The Bobcats got no closer than four points in the final minute.

The win allowed the Suns (2-3) to salvage the final game in a three-game East Coast trip. The Bobcats (1-2) lost their second straight.

Phoenix also got 23 points and 10 rebounds from Marcin Gortat, 21 points and 15 rebounds from Michael Beasley, 16 points from Goran Dragic, and 10 points each from Jared Dudley and Markieff Morris.

Byron Mullens led Charlotte with 24 points and eight rebounds. Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions scored 17 each, Ben Gordon scored 12 and Tyrus Thomas scored 10.

The Suns dominated the boards, holding a 50-39 advantage.

Mullens almost single-handedly brought the Bobcats back from a 15-point deficit midway through the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers in the period as the Bobcats cut the margin to 85-81 after three quarters.

The Bobcats continued the comeback and tied it 85-85 on a jumper by Thomas with 11:02 remaining. But then Brown went to work.

The Suns led 60-46 at halftime.

They came out sizzling, shooting 63.2 percent (12 of 19) from the field in the first quarter in building a 12-point lead at one point. Then after the Bobcats got as close as five late in the second quarter, Phoenix pushed the lead back up to 14 in the final minutes of the half.

Beasley had 16 points and five rebounds at the break, and Gortat had 13 points, including nine in the first quarter.

The Bobcats shot just 33.3 percent (15 of 45) from the field in the first half, and seemed out of sync throughout the half.

Charlotte played without Gerald Henderson, its leading scorer last season. Henderson suffered a sprained left foot last Saturday night at Dallas and will be lost for at least two weeks. His place in the starting lineup was taken by rookie Jeffery Taylor, as coach Mike Dunlap chose to keep Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions in their roles coming off the bench.

The Suns were without Jermaine O'Neal, who is attending to a personal family issue. They have already declared Channing Frye out for the season with an enlarged heart.

The Bobcats will play at New Orleans on Friday night while the Suns will return home to face Cleveland on Friday.

NOTES: The Bobcats were coming off a 126-99 loss at Dallas last Saturday. Sessions led the Bobcats in that game with 22 points and five assists. ... The Suns were winding up a three-game road trip and were coming off a 124-99 loss at Miami on Monday. Shannon Brown came off the bench to lead the Suns with 18 points. ... The Bobcats came into the game averaging an NBA-low 11.5 turnovers per game and were tied for first in turnover differential (9.0). They ranked second in the league in forcing turnovers (20.5) and were second in steals (11.5). ... Walker was the Bobcats' leading scorer coming into the game at 20.0, thanks to his career-high 30-point explosion in a season-opening win over Indiana. Scola was averaging 16.8 ppg to lead Phoenix. ... Gortat ranked fourth in the NBA in rebounding at 12.3, and the Bobcats' Brendan Haywood was 10th at 10.0. Dragic came into the game ranked sixth in the NBA in assists at 8.8. ... Suns Coach Alvin Gentry is a native of Shelby, N.C., a short drive from Charlotte. The Suns had several other Carolina connections. Jared Dudley and Brown are former Bobcats, Kendall Marshall played at North Carolina, and P.J. Tucker is a native of Raleigh.
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