Bobcats 94, Kings 89
SACRAMENTO, Calif (AP)
Maligned for much of his career as an underachiever, Kwame Brown might be ridding himself of that tag in his 10th NBA season.
The win was the third in four games for the Bobcats, who are 9-6 since Paul Silas was named interim head coach on Dec. 22 replacing Larry Brown.
Starting at center against the Kings, Brown was instrumental in the victory, only the sixth road win all year for the Bobcats. He had 13 points and his 18 rebounds were one short of his career high, which came as a Washington Wizards in a March 17, 2004 victory over the Kings.
Brown recently had consecutive double-double games, including 15 points and 16 rebounds in a Jan. 15 overtime loss to Philadelphia.
''I'm getting more opportunities, more playing time,'' said Brown, the first overall pick in the 2001 draft, a first for a player right out of high school. ''I'm starting to get comfortable with the guys. It's nothing against coach (Larry) Brown, I missed all of training camp (with a left ankle sprain) and feel like I'm just starting to get in shape.''
Brown came to the Bobcats as a free agent in the offseason after a lackluster season a year ago with Detroit when he averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Against the Kings, Brown was active in the first half, getting nine points and four rebounds. But he was told to concentrate more on the boards in the second half.
''They said I needed to pick it up, so that's what I did,'' Brown said.
The Bobcats relied on Jackson and Brown to maintain a comfortable lead in the third quarter. Jackson scored nine points and Brown was active on the boards, getting 11 rebounds in helping Charlotte take a 76-67 lead into the fourth.
''He was a No. 1 pick, so I wasn't surprised,'' Kings forward Carl Landry said of Brown. ''He did a great job of coming out and being aggressive. His impact on tonight's game was really special.''
Tyreke Evans and Landry each scored 19 points for Sacramento, which has dropped five of six games. Jason Thompson scored 14 points for the Kings. Sacramento shot 36 percent.
Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, finishing with nine points and three rebounds in 20 minutes.
''We just couldn't hit shots and it kind of messed up our offense a little bit,'' Evans said. ''We barely got any fastbreak points. We just couldn't get a rhythm.''
With the Bobcats lead cut to three points, Wallace drove inside for a layup and Jackson followed with a jumper to put the Bobcats ahead 85-78 with 5:14 left. Mistakes down the stretch and missed shots prevented the Kings from getting the lead under five points the remainder of the game.
Playing one night after an inspiring win in Portland, the Kings looked lethargic through three quarters. But they finally showed some energy to start the fourth quarter. A layup by Beno Udrih and a tip-in by Landry cut the Bobcats lead to 79-76 at the 8:20 mark.
Owners of the NBA's third-worst record, the Kings were looking to win back-to-back games for only the second time this season and first time since Oct. 30 and Nov. 1.
It was the first of six road games for Charlotte. The Bobcats will face only one team with a winning record during their longest road trip of the season that concludes Feb. 2 in Detroit.
''This was critical, this one sets the tone for the road trip,'' Silas said. ''Guys know they can win out here. It gives us confidence that we can get it done.''
Wallace had 10 of his 13 points in the second quarter when the Bobcats built a double digit lead and went into halftime with a 52-42 advantage. Evans scored nine points for the Kings, who shot 32 percent in the opening half.
''The first half it was a combination of us executing on both offense and defense,'' Wallace said. ''But I'm not sure what happened in the second half, we were lucky to hold on and get the win. They were kind of worn out from playing last night.''
Notes: Charlotte forward Eduardo Najera came off the bench and had three fouls in five first quarter minutes. He finished with five fouls in 15 minutes. ... Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and general manager Rod Higgins occupied courtside seats alongside the team's bench. ... Wallace, who was drafted by the Kings in 2001 and played three seasons in Sacramento, averaged 29.5 points in the previous four games against the Kings.