Bobacts Open New Arena With Victory
Charlotte 107, Boston 105 (OT)
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 5 (Ticker) -- Gerald Wallace made the grand opening of Charlotte Bobcats Arena a happy occasion.
Wallace scored 25 points, including a go-ahead follow shot with 2:23 left in overtime, to lift the Bobcats to a 107-105 comeback triumph over the Boston Celtics.
"This was a big win for us and a big win for the city of Charlotte, but we have got to move on because we have higher goals for this season," Wallace said.
"We've got a winning record. Hooray," Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor said. "We're getting off to a good start this year. Last year, we would have come back and lost this one by two. We're playing hard like we did last year, but this year we're winning them. It's experience and confidence."
Okafor scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth period and hauled in 12 rebounds en route to his third double-double to open the season.
"This is just the start of good things," said Bobcats guard Brevin Knight, who collected 21 points and seven assists. "We know it's only three games, but we'll take the positives from it and keep on playing from here."
Boston held a 101-91 advantage with 3:38 remaining before Charlotte scored the next 11 points, capped by Knight's jumper with 1:31 to go that provided a 102-101 lead.
"We got great shots," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said, "It went away when the game got tight. We let our guard down when we had the 10-point lead. Our guys thought the game was over and when you relax, you're gonna get beat."
"We had a chance to close out the game in the fourth quarter," Boston All-Star swingman Paul Pierce said. "At that time we needed a sense of urgency, but instead we go too comfortable and slowly let them back in the game. On the road, we have to learn to put teams away."
The contest eventually went into overtime at 103-103, with the teams exchanging early baskets before Wallace broke the tie with his layup.
"We wondered if we could make that big shot or could we get the big rebound we needed," Wallace said.
Pierce, who scored 30 of his 32 points in the first three quarters, had a chance to tie the game at the end of the extra session, but his shot rimmed out into the arms of Charlotte's Keith Bogans.
Boston shot 54 percent (32-of-59) from the field through the first three quarters but made only seven of its final 37 shots, including just one basket in the final 10 minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.
"It was a combination of us not knocking our shots and them playing tough defense," Pierce said. "They got a lot of energy from the crowd and I definitely think that helped them."
"We just kept fighting back," Charlotte forward Melvin Ely said, "and coach is not going to let us quit. Defensively, we kept focusing on (Pierce and Ricky Davis) and let everybody else try to get theirs."
The Celtics (1-2) have split two overtime games and lost at the buzzer to Detroit on Friday.
"This game hurts far worse than the one did yesterday," Rivers said. "This game we had to win and we gave it away and it's all of our faults."