CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 14 (Ticker) --
Once again, the Charlotte
Bobcats were beaten by a bomb at the buzzer.
One night after losing on a last-second 3-pointer in New York,
the Bobcats suffered an 80-77 loss to the Portland Trail
Blazers, who got a long 3-pointer from Nick Van Exel
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Portland held the ball for the last shot and nearly turned it
over against Charlotte's pressure defense. Derek Anderson
gathered the loose ball and kicked it out to Van Exel, who
buried a 3-pointer from a good five feet beyond the arc.
"It's kind of hard to believe it could occur back-to-back, but
there it is," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We had a
breakdown where we made a bad decision. We had everybody locked
up, but we made a bad decision and left Van Exel. He did what
veterans do - he knocked it down."
"(He) is the kind of player that can make those kind of shots at
any given time," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He's
always been a guy who can make shots like that at the end of the
The shot couldn't have come at a better time for Van Exel, who
had made just seven of his last 40 shots.
"I didn't think the ball was going to get back in my hands
(after the loose ball), so I wasn't really expecting to get the
shot," Van Exel said. "I kept calling (Derek's) name and he had
the vision to look up at the clock and realized he had time and
got me the ball."
"I drew it up just how it happened," Cheeks joked. "They
doubled the ball in the corner. I knew they would double the
ball. I knew (Anderson) would have to go down to the floor and
dig the ball out and Nick would be wide open. You know I knew
3-pointer off penetration by Jason Hart on the
previous possession tied the game, 77-77, but the Bobcats once
again were unable to come up with a stop to force overtime.
"Jason Hart did an exceptional job," Bickerstaff said. "That's
part of the play. He did a nice job of recognizing it (on his
drive) and Kapono did a nice job of putting it in the hole, but
In Sunday's 102-99 loss at New York, Charlotte rallied from a
double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, only to watch Tim
Thomas' 3-pointer hit the rim, bounce high off the glass and
drop through as time expired.
The Bobcats fell to 4-9 in games decided by three points or
"I thought the best they could do was a rush shot at the end,"
Bobcat forward Melvin Ely
said. "All I tried to do was box out
my man and wait for the long rebound. To see that thing go
through the net was as heartbreaking as it can get."
Charlotte entered the fourth quarter with a 64-63 lead but
missed its first seven shots of the fourth quarter and scored
just two points in the first 7 1/2 minutes as Portland built a
scored eight of his 15 points in the period,
including a baseline dunk that gave the Trail Blazers a 67-66
lead with 8:12 to play.
"We were playing good defense," Miles said. "And we knew they
couldn't score as long as we were in a half-court defense. I had
confidence in our defense. They played hard tonight like they
always do, but we just wanted it more in the second half."
scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed 17
rebounds and Ruben Patterson
and Damon Stoudamire
each added 17
points for Portland, which snapped a three-game slide.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to my guards," Przybilla said.
"They were giving me easy passes for easy layups and dunks.
When we play together like we did tonight, we're a tough team to
The double-double was the second straight for Przybilla, who is
filling in for the injured Zach Randolph
"Every time I step on the court I feel more and more comfortable
with these guys," Przybilla said. "They're making me feel
comfortable out there."
Playing without star rookie Emeka Okafor
, Charlotte got 16
points and eight rebounds from Ely and 10 and 18 from Primoz Brezec
"It's just like that sometimes," Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace
said. "Not once, but twice in two days; it takes a lot
out of you. In losses like that, you can't drop your head, but
you definitely can't hold it up, either."
The Bobcats outrebounded the Trail Blazers, 49-37, but shot 39
"This was a game we needed to win for our own psyche," Cheeks
said. "Because playing hard night in, night out and not getting
a win, it is something that we needed."