Bobcats 97, Raptors 91
Before Michael Jordan would be inducted into the North Carolina
Sports Hall of Fame in a halftime ceremony, the Charlotte Bobcats
owner had a message for his struggling team.
”He said, ‘You better not lose on my night,”’ forward Gerald
Wallace said. ”But at the same time he gave that speech about us
coming out and playing with more effort.”
It wasn’t pretty and far from perfect, but there was vast
improvement from three days earlier and it ended with a much-needed
Nazr Mohammed had 18 points and eight rebounds, Tyrus Thomas hit
the go-ahead jumper with just over a minute left, and the Bobcats
overcame Stephen Jackson’s poor night to beat the Toronto Raptors
97-91 on Tuesday night.
”(Jordan) wants to see us on the floor for loose balls, doing
the little things that we used to do,” said Wallace, who added 16
points and had four of Charlotte’s 13 blocks but also twisted his
left ankle. ”I think tonight was the starting point. We’ve got to
build off that.”
With Jackson held to seven points before fouling out, reserves
played key roles as the Bobcats snapped a two-game skid. Thomas, in
his return after missing two games with a sore calf, scored 14
points and his mid-range jumper with 1:20 left put Charlotte ahead
Little-used Matt Carroll, playing for Jackson, then hit a
cutting Boris Diaw for a half-hook on Charlotte’s next possession
to make it 93-89.
The Raptors wilted from there, missing five of six shots and
committing two turnovers in the final minute. It was Toronto’s
fifth loss in six games despite 17 points and nine assists from
”We can’t turn the ball over,” coach Jay Triano said. ”We
were going to the basket, which was good, but they blocked a lot of
In their first game since rallying from 25 points down in
Detroit for the largest comeback victory in franchise history, the
Raptors squandered a 12-point, first-half lead as they played their
third straight game without point guard Jose Calderon (sore left
DeMar DeRozan added 14 points and Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
and Linas Kleiza each scored 12 for Toronto, which shot 40 percent
and committed 19 turnovers.
”It’s real frustrating,” DeRozan said. ”Teams these days are
too good, and when you turn over the ball, it’s a good chance they
will go down and make something happen.”
Three nights after taking over the postgame address from coach
Larry Brown following a 31-point loss to Boston, Jordan was in
usual courtside seat. At halftime, the Wilmington native was
inducted into the state’s hall of fame. The ceremony included his
college coach, Dean Smith, coming on the floor with him.
The small crowd loudly cheered the pair – after booing the home
team during Toronto’s 20-2 run in the first quarter when the
Raptors had easy paths to the lane and numerous second-chance
Some of the old problems popped up, too. Referee Ed Malloy hit
Jackson with a second-quarter technical foul after his third foul.
It was Jackson’s seventh technical of the season and his first
since he sent a letter to fans apologizing for behavior that got
him suspended for a game two weeks ago.
”It’s funny, it’s a joke,” Jackson said when asked about his
frustration over being in foul trouble. ”All I can do is laugh at
it and let it go.”
Jackson, held to 3 of 8 shooting in 25 minutes, fouled out with
4:35 left after picking up two in 13 seconds. Carroll replaced him
and his jumper put Charlotte ahead 87-83 with 3:34 to go.
Mohammed was the most effective scorer, hitting 8 of 11 shots.
But Brown said Jordan has discussed taking him out of the starting
lineup to give the second unit an offensive boost.
Wallace, who played 45 minutes, had ice on his left ankle after
the game. Brown said he kept him in the game because he was told
he’d get stiff if he came out. Wallace’s status for Wednesday’s
game in Memphis is uncertain as the Bobcats try to make their owner
”That was kind of neat seeing Michael honored and all those
people there,” Brown said. ”That was a pretty impressive group.
But we needed a win.”
Notes: DeRozan had the play of the night, a leaping, one-handed
tomahawk dunk over Thomas in the third quarter. … Triano hadn’t
received a report on how Calderon’s individual workout went before
the game. But when asked if he’d play Wednesday against Chicago,
Triano replied, ”probably not.” … G Gerald Henderson didn’t
score in three minutes after Brown said Jordan and GM Rod Higgins
don’t want to send him to Maine of the development league as he
works his way back from a knee injury.