Wallace helps Bobcats surprise NuggetsJan 30, 2007 - 6:01 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Gerald Wallace and the Charlotte Bobcats save their best for the top competition.
Wallace made a huge defensive play down the stretch and collected 25 points and 13 rebounds as the Bobcats posted a 105-101 victory over the struggling Denver Nuggets.
Emeka Okafor had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who shot 49 percent (40-of-81) from the field and 7-of-18 from the arc but dug in defensively to secure the victory in the exciting final minutes.
"We made plays when we needed them," Okafor said. "We hustled and got on the ground. When you have the caliber of players like (Carmelo Anthony) and (Allen) Iverson on the same team, you've got to bring it all. We came out and matched their intensity."
While having a poor season, Charlotte (16-28) has saved its best basketball for the league's top teams, including a season sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bobcats also have defeated playoff contenders Utah, Detroit, San Antonio, Cleveland and New Jersey.
"I think it's good. Two out of three (on the road trip) in some very difficult places against some very good teams," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "(You) talk about the Lakers and you talk about Denver."
Wallace made sure the Bobcats finished off the Nuggets. Trailing by one point in the final minute, Anthony attacked the rim on the fast break, taking the ball right at Wallace, who swatted it away from behind to preserve the lead.
"It was just a spectacular play by two athletes," Wallace said. "Ray (Felton) tried to cut him off but Carmelo went behind his back. I tried to go for the steal and I couldn't reach it. And he just kept going, and I knew he was going to try to go up on me. My thing was to go try and block the shot. I happened to be in the air a lot longer than he was.
Wallace also shot 9-of-17 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line.
After Felton made two free throws to make it 104-101 with 16 seconds left, the Nuggets had one last chance to tie. With Anthony and Iverson bottled up by a swarming defense, J.R. Smith misfired from the arc with five seconds remaining.
Anthony, in his fifth contest back after sitting out 15 games for a league-mandated suspension for fighting, admitted that it's going to take some time before everyone is on the same page - especially at the end of games.
"When things were going good, everybody said it was going to be working right away. It's going to take some time, and I don't want to make any excuses right now," Anthony said. "I'm trying to get my rhythm and get my flow. My teammates are still trying to get used to me being back out there on the court.
"When I was out, they were playing and had different roles out there. Now that I'm back, the roles are changing. I'm going to get through this, and we are going to get through this.
Iverson scored 31 points and Anthony added 25 for the Nuggets, who shot 46 percent (37-of-80) to absorb their third straight loss.
Despite finishing the game, Iverson tweaked his right ankle in the first quarter, and the team listed him as day-to-day.
"I need to get an X-ray or something. I thought that when I did it in the first quarter it was going to go away," Iverson said. "I thought I just rolled it and that was that, but it continued to bother me throughout the game. It tightened up on me real bad when I came out in the fourth quarter. It just bothered me real bad. I'll just get up and see how I feel (Tuesday)."
DENVER 101 FINAL
Jan 29 11:31 PM
DENVER 79 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 29 10:52 PM
HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
CHARLOTTE 31 30 61
DENVER 34 24 58 HALFTIME
HIGH SCORERS AT HALFTIME
CHA - EMEKA OKAFOR 14, GERALD WALLACE 10,
RAYMOND FELTON 10
DEN - ALLEN IVERSON 18, CARMELO ANTHONY 14,
YAKHOUBA DIAWARA 7
Jan 29 10:12 PM
DENVER 34 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 29 9:38 PM
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