Less than a week into the season, Steve Nash isn't thrilled with the way the Phoenix Suns are playing - even though they were without Amare Stoudemire in their last game.
Nash and the Suns may again be without Stoudemire on Tuesday when they visit the surprisingly undefeated Charlotte Bobcats, who have never defeated Phoenix.
After being embarrassed in a 119-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in their home opener on Friday, the Suns (2-1) bounced back with a 103-92 victory over Cleveland on Sunday.
Stoudemire did not play against Cleveland because of swelling in his right knee, and is listed as day-to-day. The All-Star center had arthroscopic surgery on the knee Oct. 2, and indicated he will be a game-time decision.
"It all depends on how I feel," Stoudemire said after the Suns practiced on Monday. "If I feel good tomorrow, then I'll play. If not, then I'll sit it out. There's no pressure being put on me by the staff or the trainers."
On Sunday, Phoenix scored 38 points on 37.0 percent shooting in the first half before registering 65 points on 53.5 percent shooting after halftime.
"It wasn't pretty, but it was effective," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're not there yet, but we'll get there. In the second half, we scored 65 points and still didn't shoot very well, so that's encouraging."
Phoenix averaged league highs of 110.2 points and 49.4 percent shooting last season, but has gotten off to a slow start, averaging 102.3 and making 45.8 percent of its shots from the field.
"I feel like the first three games, we haven't had good rhythm, we haven't had cohesion," said Nash, who had 30 points and 10 assists against the Cavaliers. "We have to work together and find the rhythm that we've been successful with."
The Suns open a four-game road trip with this matchup against the Bobcats, who have dropped all six meetings with Phoenix since entering the NBA for the 2004-05 season. In its three victories at Charlotte, Phoenix has won by an average of 18.4 points.
Four-time All-Star Shawn Marion had 23 points and 12 rebounds Sunday, and is averaging 21.8 points and 12.5 boards in his career against Charlotte.
Charlotte (2-0) hung on for a 90-88 victory over Miami on Sunday, moving two games over .500 for the first time in franchise history.
The Bobcats wasted all of a 16-point fourth-quarter lead before Jeff McInnis hit two free throws with 1.8 seconds left to seal the victory.
"It feels great," said Gerald Wallace, who scored 13 points. "A lot of times we've been in big games and we've had the lead and around the fourth quarter they tie the game up, we'd get confused or the team wouldn't know what to do."
Jason Richardson had 29 points while shooting 6-of-11 from 3-point range on Sunday after scoring 21 points in his Charlotte debut on Friday. Richardson, acquired in a draft-day trade with Golden State, scored 50 points in two games against the Suns last season, including a season-high 36 in a 124-119 Warriors win on March 29.
The Bobcats beat Milwaukee 102-99 in Friday's home opener, and have never started a season with consecutive home wins.
This will be Charlotte's first game of the season against a Western Conference opponent. The Bobcats went 9-21 against those teams last season.
Copyright 2007 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited