Bobcats sprint past Suns to extend home streak

CHARLOTTE (Reuters) - The Charlotte Bobcats used a crushing first half to claim their seventh consecutive home win with a 125-99 rout of the Phoenix Suns Saturday.

Charlotte's Stephen Jackson scored 29 points to top the 10,000 point mark while Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire also reached the plateau after putting up 19 points.

Powered by a 43-point first quarter that began with a 12-0 run to open the game, the Bobcats sprinted to a 74-47 halftime advantage and evened their record at 19-19 with their 16th home win in 20 games. They are just 3-15 on the road.

"We've had good games before, good halves before, but offensively that was as good a half as we've had than I can remember," Charlotte coach Larry Brown told reporters.

Gerald Wallace scored 24 of his 29 points in the first half to help Charlotte earn its fourth consecutive win and also hauled down 13 rebounds.

"These are just small steps," Brown said of the team's recent improvement. "We dug ourselves such a hole earlier in the season and we have to continue to try to get better.

"We've improved and we don't have a key part of our team (injured center Tyson Chandler) playing."

The win was a milestone for the six-year-old franchise. Never before has it been at .500 this late in the season.

The road loss was the 10th in 11 games for Phoenix.

"We were never in the game," Gentry said. "They scored at will and basically just did everything they wanted to do."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Alastair Himmer)