Jones Helps Bobcats Hold Off Knicks
Charlotte 116, New York 109
CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 11 (Ticker) -- The Charlotte Bobcats moved out of the cellar and were replaced by the New York Knicks.
Jumaine Jones scored 28 points and rookie Raymond Felton added 20 as the Bobcats matched their win total from last season with a 116-109 triumph over the Knicks.
"We've got to go out and play the games no matter what," New York guard Stephon Marbury said. "I don't think we want to be the worst team in the league. It's not by design. At this stage in the season, we've got to continue to play hard, just to get better for next year. We're all losers - whoever doesn't win the championship - because it's a long winter."
Charlotte held a 13-point lead after three quarters and appeared to be in control after Melvin Ely's dunk pushed the advantage to 104-89 with just over six minutes remaining.
"Opportunities can slip away," said Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. "Tonight was a prime example where we controlled this game from the opening tip. It shouldn't have even come down to where it is so close that we're struggling and fighting for every possession."
However, Jalen Rose scored six of his 23 points in an 18-5 burst over the next five minutes that cut the Knicks' deficit to 109-107 with 1:13 left.
"We have a problem understanding that just because we are up 12 or 15 with three minutes to go, that doesn't mean the game is over," Wallace said. "We just can't do this if we expect to win and be one of the elite teams in the league."
With the Bobcats out of timeouts, Brevin Knight ended the burst with a jumper and Marbury misfired on the Knicks' next possession.
"It was disappointing," Brown said. "We struggled defensively in the first quarter, we had a horrible third quarter, and at the end you've got to play perfect when you get yourself so far down.
"We had gotten it down to two, and it was a long possession, and Knight made a big shot, then we missed the jumper and had some lapses. We didn't defend very well at all."
Jones grabbed the rebound and was fouled, making both free throws to rebuild a six-point bulge with 38 seconds left.
"We were struggling to rebound the ball all through the game," said Jones, who pulled down seven boards. "But with the game on the line, we came up with a big rebound that we definitely needed. Everybody went out and played aggressive defense and I was able to come up with it."
After a turnover by Marbury eight seconds later, Bernard Robinson split a pair of free throws for a 114-107 edge. New York got no closer as it had to foul on every possession thereafter in the final seconds.
"It was a variety of different things tonight," said Marbury, who scored 18 points. "It was easy layups. They got some dunks. It's tough when you give them a lead like that and you have to fight back so far."
Charlotte made just 25-of-43 free throws, but made up for those struggles by connecting on 11-of-21 3-pointers - tying franchise record for 3-pointers made.
"When you get beat on dribble penetration, it's going to open up a lot of things," Brown said. "You can't defend on the road like this and expect to win."
Primoz Brezec scored 18 points and Matt Carroll added 15 off the bench for the Bobcats, who shot 47 percent (40-of-85) from the field.
Eddy Curry scored 19 points, Steve Francis added 16, and David Lee had 11 with 12 rebounds for New York, which shot 50 percent (39-of-78) overall and held a 66-42 edge in points in the paint.