CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Ticker) --
After two straight
heartbreaking defeats, the Charlotte Bobcats were not about to
let it happen again.
scored 20 points and hit a huge 3-pointer late in
the game as the Bobcats posted a 94-88 victory over the Denver
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Charlotte lost at New York on Sunday and to Portland on Monday
on 3-pointers at the buzzer. In this one, Rush buried his jumper
from deep in the right corner to push Charlotte's lead to 91-84
with one minute remaining.
"After the way we lost the last two games, it was great to win
this one," Rush said. "It's great for my back to feel like it's
100 percent again. I have been playing with an injury for the
last few weeks and it was good to come out and contribute."
"I think it's good for these guys," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff
said. "This basketball team deserves it. What's
significant to me, with the two losses, as devastating as they
were with the clock expiring on both of them, is that it did not
diminish our efforts tonight."
The Bobcats were down one at the half but outscored the Nuggets,
33-19, in the third quarter to take a 82-69 lead into the final
Denver closed to 84-82 with 4:51 to play when Carmelo Anthony
capped a 13-2 run with a three-point-play off a nice high-low
feed from Kenyon Martin
After Anthony was called for offensive interference, the Bobcats
extended their lead to 88-82 on baskets by Gerald Wallace and
. Earl Boykins
hit a jumper at the 1:42 mark to
make it 88-84 before Rush delivered his dagger from the arc.
"A win like this is good for us," Rush said. "Even though we won
tonight, this could have easily been a three-game winning
streak. Hopefully we can come back during the second half of the
season and win some more games. We plan on stepping it up the
second half on the season."
Rush scored 11 points as Charlotte opened the third period with
a 16-5 run. Keith Bogans
added nine of his 18 off the bench in
"We allowed their guards to have special games," Denver coach
said. "Defensively in the second half, we made
Bogans and Rush look like Ray Allen
and Michael Jordan. We dug
a hole and fought back, we dug a hole and fought back again. Our
guys seem to fight when they got down but I would like to see
them fight with the lead."
"I just wanted to be aggressive and do whatever I could," said
Charlotte guard Brevin Knight
, who scored 11 points off the
bench. "That's what Kareem did as well. Melvin (Ely) had a big
first half and they really started to concentrate on him and
that gave us the chance to hit the open shots."
"(Kareem) made some big shots," Bickerstaff said. "He gave us a
margin and was moving with energy without the ball.
Ely scored 15 points and Brezec 10 and 14 boards for the
Bobcats. The double-double for Brezec was his seventh in the
last 12 contests.
"We've learned that we can stay in it with ballclubs and compete
with anybody," Ely said. "That makes you feel good and we came
in here tonight ready to play."
The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Bobcats.
"This was a really big win and much needed," Wallace said. "For
us to play as hard as we did over the last two games and keep
ourselves in the game against a very good Denver team says a lot
about this team."
Anthony scored 21 points for Denver (24-29), which was 31-23 at
the All-Star break last season. Martin scored 17 points and
Boykins added 16 for the Nuggets, who fell to 7-4 under new
coach George Karl.
"We came in and we were sluggish tonight," Anthony said. "We
fought at the end, but we just didn't have it tonight. Fatigue
was the biggest key. We felt like we were playing hard, but
obviously we weren't. We really need this break right now."
"(Being tired) is a bunch of excuses," Karl said. "I don't buy