Wallace lights up Nuggets in Bobcats' winJan 15, 2008 - 4:52 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Charlotte Bobcats knew they were in a stretch that was going to test their mettle as a team. So far, so good.
Gerald Wallace scored a season-high 40 points to lead the Bobcats to a 119-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
Emeka Okafor added 19 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which had the services of point guards Raymond Felton, Jeff McInnis and Derek Anderson. All three missed Saturday's overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons with various injuries.
The Bobcats, who have won three of their last five with Wallace averaging 25.8 points in that stretch, knocked off their second division leader in six days after they defeated the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
"It's just another win for me," Wallace said. "We did a lot of things we needed to do right. Instead of having five or six things that we need to improve on, we're narrowing them down to one or two."
They are in the middle of a stretch of games that pits them against four division leaders in eight days.
Since defeating the Celtics on Wednesday, they dropped a 113-106 double-overtime thriller to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Less than 24 hours later, they suffered another overtime loss, 103-100, to the Central Division-leading Pistons.
"It feels good (to close this game out) because of the two games we lost in overtime," said Felton, who posted a season-high 15 assists. "To lose those games like that and then come out tonight vs. a team who is one of the elite teams in the West and beat them, it's a big win for us."
They meet the Southeast Division-leading Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
"The guys are really spirited by good competition right now," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "We want a challenge to see how good we really are."
The 40 points by Wallace marked just the fifth time a Bobcat player has reached that plateau in franchise history.
"We're (getting) a chance to see a superstar form right in front of our eyes," Vincent said. "They way he's shooting the ball and attacking the rim, he's becoming a very dynamic player."
J.R. Smith opened the final period with a dunk to give Denver a five-point cushion, but Wallace answered with a 3-pointer to pull to 101-99.
Smith's second basket of the quarter gave the Nuggets their largest lead of the game, 108-102.
However, Nazr Mohammed responded with four straight points for Charlotte to start a 12-2 run. Jason Richardson added two shots from the arc during that stretch to put the Bobcats up four at 114-110.
After a dunk from Carmelo Anthony, Wallace sank a 3-pointer from the right corner to put Charlotte ahead by five. Smith pulled the Nuggets back within a basket with a shot from the arc of his own.
Anthony was fouled in the low post attempting the game-tying basket and made just the first free throw. Denver got the offensive rebound, but Anthony was whistled for a travel.
"They called it, so you can't really complain about it," Anthony said. "I probably did travel, but I didn't think they were going to call it, though."
Matt Carroll sank a pair of free throws with 4.6 seconds left to seal the victory as the Nuggets were unable to get off a shot before the buzzer.
"We were trying to push up on the 3-point line and force them to drive to the basket and were able to do that," Wallace said.
Denver was paced by Anthony's 35 points.
"They played better than us tonight," said Denver guard Allen Iverson, who finished with 23 points and six assists. "When they needed the stops, they got them. They executed very well and played a very good game."
Marcus Camby posted a season-high 20 points along with a season-best 23 rebounds. It was Camby's seventh 20-board performance of the season.
CHARLOTTE 119 FINAL
Jan 14 9:36 PM
CHARLOTTE 96 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 14 8:55 PM
CHARLOTTE 67 HALFTIME
Jan 14 8:11 PM
CHARLOTTE 34 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 14 7:37 PM
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