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Wallace, Richardson pace Bobcats to win over Utah

Dec 20, 2007 - 5:20 AM By Derek Smith PA Sports Ticker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) - Gerald Wallace scored a game-high 26 points to lead Charlotte to a 98-92 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

The Bobcats seemed to play with confidence a day after part-owner Michael Jordan joined the team for practice.

"He can get a little bit of credit for this one," Wallace said. "I think the intensity that you saw tonight, it obviously came from him. He told us to keep our intensity and stay aggressive at all times. The game's never over until that final whistle blows."

However, Jordan disagreed.

"I didn't do anything," Jordan said in the locker room postgame. "They did it all on their own."

Andrei Kirilenko sank a pair of free throws to open the fourth quarter and push Utah's lead to four points. Charlotte pulled within a point, 71-70, on a three-point basket from Matt Carroll.

Jason Hart and Ronnie Brewer scored all 11 points in a 11-2 run that looked to put Utah in a comfortable position. Hart, a former member of the Bobcats, sank back-to-back 3-pointers which included a rare four-point play. Brewer capped the burst with four points of his own to give the Jazz the first double-digit lead of the game, 82-72.

"When they made their run and we got behind, nobody dropped their head," Wallace said. "Everybody felt like we could still win this game. All we had to do was turn up our defense another notch. We came out and we got more aggressive."

The Bobcats closed within five points after a three from Jason Richardson with 4:41 remaining and made it even closer after a pair of Raymond Felton free throws.

"Once we got the momentum," Felton said, "We just took over from there."

Felton then capped the 13-0 run on a three-point play with 3:24 to go in the fourth quarter to give Charlotte an 87-86 lead, its first lead since 3:12 to play in the third.

After a Deron Williams basket, Felton and Wallace each made a pair of free throws for a 91-88 advantage.

"We came out and we got more aggressive and were able to create a lot of turnovers and make it to the free throw line," Wallace said.

The Bobcats then connected on seven-of-eight free throws to end the game while Utah made just three field goals in the final 6:25.

Entering the fourth quarter there had been 19 ties and 21 lead changes between the two teams. The largest lead for either team in the first three periods was a six-point advantage by Charlotte in the first quarter. The largest Utah lead had been four points.

The teams were tied 43-43 at the half with Wallace contributing 17 and Richardson adding 11 for the Bobcats. Utah was led at the break by Carlos Boozer's 14 points and Deron Williams with 12.

Utah is now just 2-8 in the month of December after starting the season with a 12-5 mark.

"Probably as much as anything, we need to practice," " Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

In addition to Wallace's 26 points, Charlotte got 24 points from Richardson and a 17-point, eight-rebound, two-block performance by Nazr Mohammed who was playing in his first home game as a Bobcat.

"I didn't go a good job leading this team down the stretch," Boozer said. "I'll take full responsibility for that. I threw the ball away too much. I just didn't finish the game strong."

The Jazz were paced by Boozer with 21 and 20 from Williams, but they combined for just eight points on 4-of-9 shooting in the final period.

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