CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 3 (AP) -- The Charlotte Bobcats struggle against most teams, and are making a habit of playing their best against the NBA's elite.

Sean May scored 17 points, fellow reserve Matt Carroll added 16 and the Bobcats snapped Detroit's eight-game winning streak with a 97-89 victory Sunday night.

The Bobcats' backups outscored the Pistons' reserves 46-14 to help Charlotte end a two-game losing streak and continue their unlikely trend of beating the league's best teams. Three of the Bobcats' five wins have come against San Antonio, Cleveland and Detroit, which suffered its first loss since Nov. 15.

``One of the things is we get up for it. And then a lot of it also has to do with the mentality of the team coming to play us,'' guard Brevin Knight said. ``You come in and see our record and you think you can turn it off and on, but we're going to battle you.''

Emeka Okafor had 18 points and eight rebounds and Knight had 14 assists for Charlotte, which held the Pistons to 41 percent shooting.

Rasheed Wallace scored 19 points and Tayshaun Prince added 17 for the Pistons. Leading scorer Richard Hamilton also scored 17, but shot 5-for-16 and did not score in the first half.

The Pistons jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but never showed that type of intensity again, allowing the upstart Bobcats back in the game.

``It hurt us a little bit,'' guard Chauncey Billups said of the quick start. ``It came so easily. Most times when we're playing a really young team and we're an elite team and then we jump on a lead like that, most teams could pretty much give up. They didn't, to their credit.''

Thanks in part to the Pistons' indifference on defense, the Bobcats hit their first 10 shots to start the third quarter. Knight's driving layup put the Bobcats ahead 66-58.

Detroit rallied to tie before Derek Anderson, signed by Charlotte last week, scored seven points in a 9-2 run that put the Bobcats up 77-70 entering the fourth quarter.

``There's no substitution for experience at playing on this level,'' Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said of Anderson. ``I think people underestimate that just because he's a journeyman, he's a role player, how good they really are.''

Anderson, who was out of the league after he wasn't re-signed by Miami in the offseason, wasn't finished. He hit a 3-pointer and was fouled by Flip Murray with 8:05 left. Anderson hit the free throw for the four-point play - the second in as many games for the Bobcats - to put Charlotte ahead 83-73.

It's been quite a week for Anderson, who said he hadn't even played in a pickup game since the end of last season.

``I was just working out with my trainer,'' said Anderson, who finished with 11 points in 18 minutes. ``I didn't want to get injured, so I just waited. But once you've been playing for nine years, mentally is 90 percent of it anyway. Now I'm getting myself into physical condition for the rest of the season.''

Raymond Felton's 3-pointer with 2:23 left made it 92-82 and Charlotte secured its first win over Detroit in six tries.

``We played empty,'' Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. ``We didn't play with a sense of urgency defensively that we had been when we've been winning games.''

At one point in the second quarter Bobcats starters Adam Morrison, Gerald Wallace, Okafor and Felton were a combined 2-of-18 from the field yet Charlotte led 35-33. The reason: Carroll came in to hit his first five shots.

``Tonight I came off screens looking to shoot the ball and the big guys set some good screens and the guard we're getting the ball to me at the right time,'' Carroll said.

The Pistons led 44-43 at halftime despite Hamilton going 0-for-3 from the field in 12 foul-plagued minutes.

Morrison was held to a season-low two points on 1-of-5 shooting, but the Bobcats were still able to knock off another NBA heavyweight.

``We have to come out and play every game like it's against a playoff team or a former world champion and we'll be all right,'' Knight said.

Notes: Pistons C Dale Davis rejoined the team and didn't score in 12 minutes, two days after he was acquitted of assault charges stemming from an incident with Miami Beach police. ... Bickerstaff called the team's four-game homestand this week against Detroit, San Antonio, Houston and Phoenix the toughest stretch of games in the team's three-year history. ... Billups scored his 9,000th career point.

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