Bobcats 119, Nuggets 116

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - No heartbreaking loss this time. No complaining about a referee's call. The Charlotte Bobcats finally made the big plays down the stretch behind their budding star.

Gerald Wallace continued his stellar season Monday night by scoring 40 points, and Matt Carroll hit two free throws with 4.6 seconds left in the Bobcats' 119-116 win over the Denver Nuggets.

Wallace and the often anonymous Bobcats got some rare time in the spotlight last week after a stunning win in Boston, only to follow it up with a double-overtime loss to Cleveland and a disputed overtime loss to Detroit.

Playing another nailbiter against the Nuggets, Wallace carried the Bobcats with a barrage of high-flying dunks, driving layups and a key 3-pointer late. He added eight rebounds and five assists.

"We're having a chance to see a superstar form right in front of our eyes,'' Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said of Wallace, who is averaging 29.8 points in the past eight games. "The way he's shooting the ball on the outside, the way he's attacking the rim, the way he's rebounding and blocking shots and getting steals, he's just really becoming a very dynamic player.''

Wallace, who was two points shy of matching his career high, hit 13 of 24 shots, including a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left that put Charlotte ahead 117-112.

About the only time Wallace failed to deliver was when he was asked about Vincent's superstar comment.

"That's for him to evaluate,'' he said. "My thing is to come out and play and do my hardest every night to put my team in a situation to win.''

Carroll added 19 points and Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte. Raymond Felton had 15 assists after missing Saturday's loss with a sprained right ankle.

Unlike Saturday when the Bobcats were complaining about a late basket interference penalty that wiped out the go-ahead hoop, the Nuggets were the ones making the mistakes at the end.

Carmelo Anthony had 35 points while playing with a sore back, but missed a free throw and was called for traveling in the closing seconds. Allen Iverson added 23 points and Marcus Camby had 20 points, 23 rebounds and six blocks for the Nuggets, who lost for the second time in six games.

Anthony, who scored 30 or more points in his second straight game, was fouled with 9.5 seconds left with the Nuggets trailing 117-115. He made the first free throw, missed the second, and then got a deflected rebound.

Anthony then shuffled both feet on the perimeter.

"I probably did travel. I didn't think they would call it, though,'' Anthony said.

After Carroll's free throws, the Nuggets called a timeout and inbounded from the frontcourt. The ball ended up in Linas Kleiza's hands, and he hesitated before passing to J.R. Smith, who couldn't get a tying 3-point attempt off before the buzzer.

"Obviously we were trying to get J.R. the ball and we didn't get it done,'' Denver coach George Karl said. "They switched out on us and L.K. made, I think, a poor decision on not trying to get a shot.''

The Nuggets, playing again without Nene (undisclosed illness), appeared in control when they took a 108-102 lead with 7 minutes left.

Then Jason Richardson, who had been 4-of-11 from the field and in foul trouble all night, hit two 3-pointers in a 12-2 run to put Charlotte ahead to stay.

It was clear early it was going to be a high-scoring game and that no one could contain Wallace off the dribble as Charlotte built a 50-37 lead. But the Nuggets rallied behind Anthony and Anthony Carter, whose long 3-pointer in the closing seconds put Denver ahead 68-67 at halftime.

The Nuggets wiped out a seven-point deficit in the third quarter and led 99-96 entering the fourth on Iverson's off-balance fadeaway at the buzzer.

The Bobcats, who were forced to play Saturday without a point guard, got both Felton and Jeff McInnis (strained right quadriceps) back and had 30 assists on their 42 field goals in their highest-scoring game of the season.

"The Bobcats are a whole lot better team than their record shows,'' said Camby, who was one rebound shy of his career high. "They beat Boston. I saw the game against Detroit and I thought they should have had that one. They're coming together as a team.''

Notes: The NBA on Monday defended referee Marc Davis' basket interference call with 1.5 seconds left in overtime that wiped out Charlotte's go-ahead basket in the loss to Detroit. "Call was correct,'' spokesman Tim Frank said in an e-mail. Vincent disagreed, and was still upset after Monday's shootaround. "In effect they destroyed a chance for us to win the game,'' Vincent said. Gerald Wallace scored 40 points, Matt Carroll hit two free throws with 4.6 seconds left, and the Charlotte Bobcats made the big plays down the stretch this time in a 119-116 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

After consecutive heartbreaking losses, in double-overtime to Cleveland and in overtime to Detroit, Wallace carried the Bobcats in a fast-paced game with numerous dunks and little defense.

Yet Denver's offensive breakdown at the end cost the Nuggets a chance to tie.

After Carroll's free throws put Charlotte ahead by 3, the Nuggets called a timeout and inbounded from the frontcourt. The ball ended up in Linas Kleiza's hands, and he hesitated before passing to J.R. Smith, who couldn't get a tying 3-point attempt off before the buzzer.

Carmelo Anthony had 35 points for Denver, but missed a free throw and was called for traveling just before Carroll's free throws. Allen Iverson added 23 points and Marcus Camby had 20 points and 23 rebounds for the Nuggets, who lost for the second time in six games.

Wallace, who was two points shy of matching his career high, hit 13 of 24 shots, including a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left that put Charlotte ahead 117-112.

Carroll added 19 points and Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte. Raymond Felton had 15 assists after missing Saturday's loss with a sprained right ankle.


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