Knight Scores 22 to Pace Bobcats
Charlotte 93, Atlanta 90
ATLANTA, Dec. 27 (Ticker) -- Brevin Knight worked hard at both ends to end his former team's home winning streak.
Knight scored 22 points, including a pair of clutch free throws with seven seconds remaining to help the Charlotte Bobcats post a 93-90 come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
However, the Bobcats responded by scoring the next 10 points to take a one-point lead with 5:39 left on a free throw by Keith Bogans, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the final session.
The teams traded the lead over the next five minutes before Primoz Brezec put Charlotte ahead for good, 91-90, on a layup with 14 seconds remaining.
"I think we drew up a play for Bogans and he pushed it out to me," said Bobcats leading scorer Gerald Wallace, who found a wide-open Brezec in the lane. "I saw (Smith) come over to block the shot. I knew Primoz was wide open and would have an open shot. I handed it off to him and he was able to finish."
After Al Harrington - who scored 19 points - missed a driving layup on the other end, Knight grabbed one of his season-high seven rebounds and immediately was fouled. Blocking out the two free throws he had missed just over a minute earlier, Knight buried a pair to give the Bobcats a three-point bulge.
"I told the guys I wanted the ball again," said Knight, who spent part of the 2000-01 season with the Hawks. "I wanted to go to the free-throw line again. I wasn't going to pass. I was going to make (the free throws)."
Knight then played stifling defense on Harrington, forcing him to pass instead of attempt a potential game-tying 3-pointer. Josh Childress ended up with the ball, but his shot bounced harmlessly off the back of the rim.
"There was no way I was going to let him get the 3-pointer," Knight said. "We know who their two big guys are - Joe Johnson and Harrington. We wanted to make it so someone else was shooting. That's what you do in this league."
"I guess the basketball gods are telling us we have to play hard for 48 minutes," said Harrington, who missed his last six shots. "We can't take a half off, thinking we can just make up for it in the second half."
The Hawks were given a golden opportunity to build on their fourth-quarter advantage after Bernard Robinson's foul put the Bobcats in the penalty with 7:43 remaining. But Atlanta mustered just one free throw down the stretch.
"Ultimately, the game came down to free throws," Childress said. "We were 8-for-13 (in the game) and they were 20-for-30. That's the difference right there. We didn't get to the line in crunch time when we needed to and they did."
Charlotte defeated Atlanta for the third straight time, despite using just eight players and competing without injured starters Emeka Okafor and Kareem Rush.
"This team has character," Wallace said. "Everyone on this team can play. We're outnumbered every night, but the rest of us have to go out and play as hard as we can."