Bobcats Snap 12-Game Road Losing Streak
Charlotte 110, Portland 106
PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 22 (Ticker) -- The way the Charlotte Bobcats played down the stretch Wednesday, it was hard to believe they had not won on the road in nearly two months.
Kareem Rush scored 28 points and Gerald Wallace enjoyed a splendid return to the lineup with 15 points and seven rebounds as the Bobcats snapped a 12-game road losing streak with a 110-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"It just feels good to get that win on the road," Rush said. "They've been few and far between. We've been in some close games on the road but didn't do some of the little things to get a win. Tonight we did and hopefully it can carry over."
With the game tied at 101-101 with just over a minute to go, Knight missed a runner in the lane. Portland's Darius Miles pulled down the rebound, but Wallace snuck behind him, ripped away the ball and threw down a one-handed dunk.
"I just kept going for the ball," said Wallace, who played 28 minutes off the bench in his first game since January 20. "(Miles) got the rebound and put it one hand. I saw that and just kinda took it from him."
"It came down to that rebound that I had that Gerald stole from me," Miles said. "It was a big possesion that we really needed. I just didn't see him and he took it from me."
After Ruben Patterson missed a layup on the other end, Charlotte's Matt Carroll fell on the loose ball in the lane and smartly called timeout to preserve the possession. On the ensuing trip, the Bobcats used the entire shot clock before finding Rush for an 18-foot jumper that made it 105-101.
"Kareem shot the ball well but he did a lot of the other things as well," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "He got to loose balls and blocked out. He was also smart with the ball down the stretch. All of those things are good too."
Knight, Felton and Wallace each made a pair of free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the win - just Charlotte's fifth in 28 road contests.
Rush connected on a sparkling 12-of-14 shots, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc, to lead the Bobcats' 51 percent (46-of-90) effort.
"The first couple of my shots went down and when that happens to me, things open up," Rush said. "Hopefully it will get me going to have a strong, injury-free second half."
Wallace, the team's leading scorer who had missed the last 15 games with a leg bruise, made 5-of-8 shots and added four of Charlotte's five blocked shots.
"I'm really tired," Wallace admitted. "I was getting a little long-winded out there and I'm not where I want to be. But it was nice to get back out there and help get a win. Once I get my legs back, it will be great."
Rush acknowledged that it is no coincidence that the return of Wallace coincided with the team's first road victory of the calendar year.
"He's our game changer," Rush said. "I mean it's his first game back and he's doing the things that he was doing earlier in the year. It's just great to have him out on the court."
Patterson paced the Trail Blazers with 25 points but did not score in the fourth quarter. Miles chipped in 20 and eight rebounds for Portland, which was outrebounded, 40-32, in losing for the seventh time in eight games.
"It's like we're taking steps backwards right now," said Blazers guard Juan Dixon, who scored 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. "In all aspects of the game. Our defense, offense, rebounds, everything. Hopefully we can get back to the gym, have a good practice and turn this thing around."
Already shorthanded due to injuries to centers Joel Przybilla (knee tendinitis) and Theo Ratliff (sprained ankle), Portland also played without leading scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph, who chipped a tooth in Tuesday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We were disadvantaged by having to play without our bigs," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We gave up 18 second-chance points and that's way too many. We've got to find a way to make up when we're missing them."
Charlotte used an 9-0 run to open a 38-26 lead early in the second quarter. The lead reached 54-39 on a layup by Rush at the 6:58 mark before Portland ended the half on a 16-6 burst to close within 60-55 at intermission.