Nets Blow Big Lead Late, Hand Bobcats 1st Win
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Down by 10 points and facing the prospect of opening the season with four straight losses, the Charlotte Bobcats picked up their defense, got a few friendly bounces off the rim late and came up with a way to win.
D.J. Augustin hit two go-ahead free throws with 30.9 seconds to play and the Bobcats closed the game with a 16-4 run to post an 85-83 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.
“It would have been very tough for us to be 0-4,” Augustin said. “We needed this win badly. It’s going to give us a boost of confidence going into Detroit.”
Going 0-4 would have been a lot scarier since the Bobcats have home games against Orlando and San Antonio after the Detroit game, so the players could easily have been looking at a possible 0-7 start.
“We were struggling and we needed something good,” Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. “To get a win on the road is important. I saw some ugly things that happen when you don’t execute. But down the stretch, we made good passes and decisions on offense.”
The Bobcats also got a little lucky at the end.
Travis Outlaw of the Nets missed a 10-foot baseline jumper with 9.9 seconds to go. Brook Lopez missed on a tip off that shot and Outlaw then missed an 18-foot fallaway with less than 5 seconds to play.
“Both of them felt good,” Outlaw said. “On the second one I faded a little too much. I should have gone straight up and followed through.”
There was a loose ball on the floor for about the final 3 seconds and neither team was able to control it before the final horn went off. Lopez left the court holding a shoulder, saying he bumped with Augustin. He did not think the injury was serious.
“They kept getting shots and they fell off the rim,” said Stephen Jackson, who scored eight of his 12 points in the final 5:12 for Charlotte after starting 0 for 8 from the field. “We had the luck of the basketball gods there. We stayed with our defense and got after it at the end of the game.”
Boris Diaw scored 24 points and Gerald Wallace added 20 for Charlotte, which ironically was the team that the Nets beat last season to end an NBA-record 18-game losing streak to start the season.
Devin Harris shook off a sprained left shoulder to lead the Nets with 19 points and eight assists. Lopez added 17 points, and rookie Derrick Favors and Anthony Morrow had 11 points each.
“We just have to learn to put teams away,” said Harris, who had 10 points and three assists in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 79-69 after a 3-pointer by Outlaw with 4:45 to play, the Bobcats went on a 14-2 spurt with Jackson and Diaw hitting 3-pointers and Wallace making four free throws. Charlotte tied it at 81 on a putback by Nazr Mohammed and took the lead on Jackson’s two free throws with 1:35 to go.
Lopez tied it on a basket inside on the Nets’ next possession, before Charlotte maintained control of the ball for about the next 50 seconds by missing shots and either getting rebounds or controlling the tip after a tie-up.
Augustin got his free throws when fouled by Harris on a drive on the wing.
Augustin said that Jackson told referee Haywoode Workman that Harris was using his knee to defend, and that’s the call Augustin got on the game-winning free throws.
“I think it helped a lot,” Augustin said. “Referees respect Jack and that helped me get the call. It was big.”
The Nets opened the fourth quarter with an 18-7 spurt and Harris had a hand in the first 15 points. He scored eight points and set up the other seven with three assists.
Harris, who spent the final 7:11 of the third quarter either in the locker room or on the bench after hurting his shoulder, set up monster slam by Favors with 5:32 to go for a 76-66 lead.
After Jackson and Outlaw exchanged 3-pointers, the Bobcats rallied to win.
NOTES: The Nets held a moment of silence for former NBA star Maurice Lucas, who died this weekend. He played for six teams in 12 NBA seasons, including New Jersey, after beginning his career in the ABA. … Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia was at the game and there were a few boos when he was introduced. … This marked the first time the Nets have opened a season with four straight home games. … Nets F Troy Murphy played for the first time this season after missing the first three games because of a back problem.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)