Bobcats-Suns Preview

The Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns haven't earned too many wins lately, especially at home, but a matchup with the NBA's worst team would appear to provide the opportunity for a rare victory.

The Suns will try to record their second win in six games at the U.S. Airways Center on Saturday night when they face the short-handed Charlotte Bobcats.

Phoenix (8-14) is 4-10 over its last 14 games after a 99-81 loss in Houston on Friday in which it trailed by 20 points at the half.

"We need to play harder and play 'grown-man' basketball and not get pushed around," coach Alvin Gentry said. "You have to compete and match energy with energy. I wasn't pleased with anything we did."

The Suns' next opponent knows displeasure all too well.

The Bobcats (3-20) have lost 10 straight for their longest skid since a franchise-record 13 consecutive defeats Jan. 11-Feb. 1, 2006. They're also 1-12 on the road this season and on the verge of losing 11 in a row there for the first time since Nov. 7, 2007-Jan. 4, 2008.

To make matters worse, Charlotte likely won't have leading scorer Gerald Henderson for two to four weeks because of a strained right hamstring. An injured toe has kept starting point guard D.J. Augustin out of the last six games, including the worst loss in franchise history Wednesday.

After getting beat by 33 points to open a four-game trip, the Bobcats were thumped 112-68 by Portland.

"It's been unbelievably hard. And there's really nothing I can do about it. The guys are playing as hard as they can. We just don't have enough (talent) at this particular point," coach Paul Silas said. "You take the three top players off anyone's team, and they're not going to do well."

The Bobcats, though, have done well against the Suns lately with four straight wins in the series and two in a row in Phoenix after dropping their first five games there.

Boris Diaw had 18 points against his former team during a 114-107 win at the U.S. Airways Center on Jan. 26, 2011, but the other five players who scored in double figures in that game are either injured or no longer with the team.

The forward also scored a team-best 26 points during a 123-105 home victory on Nov. 20, 2010. He has averaged 23.0 points on 66.7 percent shooting and 9.0 rebounds over his last three games in Phoenix, where he played three-plus seasons before being traded in a six-player deal Dec. 11, 2008.

Steve Nash, meanwhile, will try to improve on his 24.0-point average over his last three home matchups with Charlotte. He scored 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting during the loss on Jan. 26.

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