Bobcats 93, Wizards 85

It was an off night for just about everybody, except Gerald

Wallace.

The Charlotte Bobcats beat the Washington Wizards 93-85 Friday

night despite committing 24 turnovers. Wallace was the only starter

who didn’t have at least four.

The Wizards, meanwhile, were outrebounded by 18. Gilbert Arenas,

of all people, was the team’s second-leading rebounder with six,

but he went 2 for 14 from the field. John Wall went 6 for 16 and

had two layups blocked – both by Wallace.

So, what do the winners say after such a game?

”It’s a miracle,” Charlotte coach Larry Brown said.

And what do the losers say?

”The amazing thing is how we can even be in the game,”

Washington coach Flip Saunders said.

Wallace had 25 points and 14 rebounds and managed to show nearly

as much flash as No. 1 overall pick Wall. Wallace scored 10

straight Bobcats points in a third-quarter spurt during which he

also managed to come from behind and strip the ball just as the

speedy rookie was going up for a fast-break layup.

When Charlotte outscored Washington 17-7 over the final 6:10 of

the game, Wallace had a reverse layup, another block of a layup

attempt by Wall, and a rebound of his own missed free throw.

Boris Diaw added 19 points for the Bobcats, and D.J. Augustin

had 17 points and 10 assists.

Wall had 13 points, 11 assists and four steals – a bit short of

the triple-double show he put on two nights earlier – and had

trouble finding his shot. Still, he has a double-double in four of

his first seven NBA games, including the triple-double Wednesday

night against Houston.

Andray Blatche scored 22 points for the Wizards, and Kirk

Hinrich had 14. Arenas, who continues to come off the bench as he

shakes off the rust from recent ankle, knee and groin injuries –

not to mention last year’s suspension for a felony gun conviction –

played a season-high 31 minutes and scored five points to go with

six rebounds. He played as much as he did, according to Saunders,

because he was the only player actually getting rebounds in the

second half.

”I’m struggling with the shot right now,” Arenas said. ”It

feels good every time it leaves my hand, it’s just not going down.

It comes with those three weeks that I missed, it’s killing me

right now. Because before I was on point with my shot.”

For a change, Arenas sounded like a wise old vet as he addressed

reporters, talking about the challenges of coming off the bench

after years as a starter and the growing pains the Wizards will

have to experience.

”We’re young, and we’re going to have to learn,” Arenas said.

”We’re going to have to learn how to shut teams down and stop

having mental breakdowns at the end of the games. … It’s still

the learning process. I understood that coming in, and I wanted to

be a part of it.”

Neither team led by more than 10, and the score was tied at 78

with 5 minutes to go when Diaw hit a 3-pointer to give Charlotte

the lead for good. Wallace followed with a reverse layup on a feed

from Augustin, and Augustin then hit a 3-pointer to complete a 10-0

run and put the Bobcats ahead 86-78 with 3:31 remaining.

”We really needed that win,” Diaw said. ”We had a bad start

to the season, so it’s great. It will get us on a little

roll.”

Notes: Wallace also got the benefit of the doubt when he knocked

over a stationary Yi Jianlian with the lead at six with 1:53 to

play. After a huddle, the officials called the play a block instead

a charge. ”Terrible call,” said Saunders. ”We got a big break,”

said Brown. … Wall had nine assists before halftime, giving him

at least seven assists in each of his first six games. Oscar

Robertson was the last rookie to have that kind of start, with 10

in a row in 1960. … Augustin finally missed a free throw, ending

a 22-for-22 start to the season. … The Wizards became the latest

team to ask their fans to remain standing from the opening tip

until they score their first point. It wasn’t a good night to try

it. First of all, the attendance was sparse at tipoff at the

Verizon Center, no one seemed particularly excited about it, and

the fans had to wait 3:20 into the game before sitting because the

Wizards missed their first nine shots. … The announced attendance

was 14,855, which means Wizards owner Ted Leonsis was spared

another night of having to do Wall’s ”Dougie” dance. Leonsis says

he’ll do the dance when the Wizards get their first sellout – not

counting games against the Lakers, Heat or Celtics. … Midway

through his postgame interview, Wallace was informed the showers

were out of hot water. ”It ain’t the first time I’ve taken a cold

shower,” he said. … The Bobcats swept the season series last

year 4-0. … Washington F Al Thornton felt a pain in his stomach

during pregame warmups. He played only 21 minutes and left the game

for good in the third quarter. ”I might have pulled something,”

he said. ”I’m not sure. but it was painful to move out

there.”