for this game

Bobcats claw out win over Kings

Mar 15, 2007 - 4:21 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Sean May and the Charlotte Bobcats look determined to send coach Bernie Bickerstaff out on a positive note.

One day after finding out Bickerstaff will not be guiding the team next season, the Bobcats made some clutch plays down the stretch to post a 111-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Michael Jordan, Charlotte's managing member of basketball operations, announced on Tuesday that Bickerstaff would not return as coach next season. Bickerstaff has been invited to remain with the team in an undisclosed front office capacity.

For now, though, Bickerstaff is the coach and he had to like what he saw from May and the rest of his team in the closing seconds against the reeling Kings.

"Our perseverance was really good," Bickerstaff said. "I take my hat off to Sean (May). He did a great job of stepping up and taking the charge."

Ron Artest gave the Kings a 107-104 lead with 30 seconds to play with a 3-pointer. He then made 1-of-2 free throws after a Derek Anderson layup to make it 108-106.

May responded for the Bobcats at both ends of the floor. He made a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 16 seconds left to give Charlotte a 109-108 lead. May then drew a charge on Artest in the lane with 10 seconds to play.

"It was a tough play. The call could have gone either way," May said. "I put the game in the referee's hand to make that decision. He drove and I just tried to put myself in position to make a good play and luck thankfully was on our side and we got out of here with a win."

"I give the Bobcats a lot of credit. They hung around and hung around," Kings coach Eric Musselman said. "May had a huge game tonight."

Raymond Felton was fouled on the inbound pass and made two free throws to make it 111-108 with 9.2 seconds remaining.

The Kings brought the ball up quickly but settled for a rushed 3-pointer by Kevin Martin that did not reach the rim. It appeared that Artest was open from the same spot he hit his earlier 3-pointer but the Kings never looked his way.

"Kevin (Martin) is our leading scorer and we try to get him the ball at the end of the game," Artest said of the Kings' final possession.

Matt Carroll scored 22 points and May added 20. May was 9-of-17 from the field, including 2-of-2 from the arc for the first 3-pointers of his career.

"They kind of gave it to us good in Sacramento and we remember that at the end of the game they were laughing and joking around," Carroll said. "It happens in the NBA, but any team that does that to you, you want to come back and get a little bit of revenge so we came out with a little bit of extra energy."

Martin scored 26 points and Artest had 21 for the Kings, who shot 52 percent (37-of-71) but could not avoid their fourth straight loss.

Sacramento (28-35) is a game behind Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"I thought we played a good game offensively and moved the ball around better than last night, but we haven't done a very good job all year of defending the 3-point shot and tonight it cost us a game," Musselman said. "They were 12-of-20 and some teams can't do that in practice."

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