Slow finish costs Bobcats 11th straight loss
PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez has become a forgotten man since scoring 21 points on opening night. Saturday night he reminded everyone what he's capable of doing.
Lopez scored nine consecutive points to spark a 12-2 run starting the fourth quarter and the Suns rallied to beat Charlotte 95-89, the Bobcats' 11th consecutive loss.
"I feel that I've been playing well in short stretches," said Lopez, who had went 19-plus minutes and finished the game on the floor after playing only 28 minutes in the Suns' past six games. "When they call my number I'm going to try and do what I can."
Josh Childress gave the Suns their first lead since late in the second quarter, 75-72, with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 9:26 remaining. Cory Higgins scored for the Bobcats to pull Charlotte within one but then Lopez took over.
Lopez made a layup off a pass from Sebastian Telfair then converted a three-point play, sank another layup and scored on a turnaround jumper to give the Suns an 84-74 lead with 5:50 to go.
"The major problem is when Lopez came in," Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. "We didn't box him out and it really just changed the whole game around. He came in and dominated us."
Lopez's 11 fourth-quarter points were one more than he scored in Phoenix's past six games combined.
"Robin came in, did a great job and really gave us a big lift and got us over the hump," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.
Michael Redd scored 17 points in his first start in nearly two years, Lopez finished with 13 and Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have won two of three.
Kemba Walker had 22 points and Reggie Williams added 11 for the Bobcats, but combined for only four in the fourth quarter.
"We just missed some shots that we should have made and they came down, executed their offense and they made shots," Walker said. "They really just outplayed us in the fourth quarter."
Charlotte has lost 11 straight on the road and has not won overall since Jan. 14 against Golden State.
Phoenix was without starting guard Jared Dudley, who was out with a thigh bruise. Redd signed a one-year free-agent deal on Dec. 29 and made his first start since Jan. 20, 2010 against the Los Angeles Lakers while a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I just had a blast playing tonight," said Redd, whose playing time has been sporadic for much of the season as he plays his way back from MCL and ACL surgeries a year ago. "To come back, through the tears, through the hurt, through the hours of rehab, training to come back and accomplish this is maybe the most proud moment of my career."
Walker scored four points and Boris Diaw added a 3-pointer as Charlotte closed the first half on a 7-1 run to take a 48-42 halftime lead.
NOTES: Gortat has double-digit rebounds in 15 consecutive games, matching Kevin Lowe's league season-high streak. . Gortat also has blocked a shot in a league-best 12 straight games. . Bobcats F Bismack Biyombo made his first career start in place of DeSagana Diop, a late scratch with a knee injury, and finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Biyombo is the youngest player in the NBA.