Wallace, Pistons hold off furious rally by BobcatsDec 14, 2008 - 4:09 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons were on cruise control - that is, until the fourth quarter rolled around. Still, Rasheed Wallace came through to salvage what was almost a disastrous collapse on Saturday.
Rasheed Wallace buried an 3-pointer from the top of the key with 10 seconds remaining to help preserve the Pistons' suddenly slim lead, lifting them to a 90-86 victory over his former head coach, Larry Brown, and the Charlotte Bobcats.
"We got a win," Pistons guard Richard Hamilton said. "We're kind of disappointed about how the fourth quarter went. We've got to be a lot better."
After taking a 28-point lead in the third, the Pistons self-destructed in the final frame before finally holding off the Bobcats' frantic rally. The entire quarter was an extended run for the Bobcats, who at one point scored 17 straight points to cut their deficit to just one at 85-84.
"He (Brown) coached us," Hamilton said. "They're never going to quit. They did a good job staying with it and coming out trying to compete."
But Wallace finally answered from the arc and Richard Hamilton buried two late free throws to put the game on ice.
"We came out and played really good defense the first three quarters, but we've just to finish games," Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey said. "We knew we let this one slip. Our bench wasn't ready to play tonight and it came down to the wire again, but Sheed and Rip saved us."
Detroit held an 83-59 lead with 9:06 to play with most of its starters on the bench. However, the newly configured Bobcats would not go away quietly.
"None of my starters should have had to play in the fourth quarter," Detroit Coach Michael Curry said. "We were up 25 points. I did not want to play any of them. We should have finished the game."
Despite struggling offensively in the first three quarters, Charlotte mounted a spirited comeback. Gerald Wallace capped an 8-0 spurt for Charlotte off an alley-oop pass from Raymond Felton. Jason Maxiell stopped the run with a dunk, but the Bobcats continued to pile on.
D.J. Augustin's jumper with 5:10 to play pulled Charlotte within single digits at 85-76.
"It was great," Brown said. "We had a chance, a great player made a great shot. That was the most fun I've had since I've been here."
After Wallace's clutch 3-pointer, Alexis Ajinca got the Bobcats a little closer on a tip-in for an 88-86 score. Richard Hamilton sank the winning free throws with 3.8 to play to seal the victory.
"We all thought we were going to sit the fourth quarter," Hamilton said. "None of us wanted to go in. It's tough when you're up 25 points and we're over there taking off our tape. We thought we were done. It's hard to go back in there."
The Bobcats now have lost six in a row, while the Pistons have won two straight - just barely - following a three-game skid. Allen Iverson hit the 20-point mark for the first time since November 19, finishing with 20 and going 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Hamilton added 18 points and Rodney Stuckey collected 13 and 10 assists.
Charlotte welcomed its four newest players Saturday night as Brown continues to tweak his roster. The club acquired Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary from Phoenix on Wednesday in the deal that sent Jason Richardson out west, then signed veteran forward Juwan Howard.
The Bobcats hoped their additions would spark change - and for at least the fourth quarter, it did. Offensively, Diaw and Bell combined for just 11 points, while Howard and Singletary were inactive for the game.
Detroit blew open the game early in the third quarter on a 10-2 run with a pair of 3-pointers from Iverson for a 61-35 lead. Hamilton hit one of the team's five threes in the quarter for a 66-40 lead. Iverson followed that up with another shot from the arc to give the Pistons their largest lead at 69-40.
Gerald Wallace led Charlotte with 22 points and rookie point guard Augustin came off the bench to score 18.
CHARLOTTE 86 FINAL
Dec 13 9:27 PM
CHARLOTTE 56 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 13 8:48 PM
CHARLOTTE 33 HALFTIME
Dec 13 8:08 PM
CHARLOTTE 13 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 13 7:37 PM
- Point man: Irving shines in Cavs' demolition of Raptors May 18
- Hornets PG Kemba Walker has another surgery on left knee May 9
- Hornets future unclear with 4 starters becoming free agents May 2
- NBA Playoff Capsules May 1
- Heat roll past Hornets in Game 7, 106-73 May 1
- Game 7's to decide Miami-Charlotte, Toronto-Indiana series Apr 30
- Hornets-Heat Preview Apr 30
- NBA Playoff Capsules Apr 30
- Wade, Heat force Game 7 with 97-90 win over Hornets Apr 29
- Batum 'running on adrenaline' in Game 6 after birth of child Apr 29
- LeBron 'not fond' of NBA's reviews of officiating Apr 29
- Blazers, Hornets can cap comebacks, Raptors also can advance Apr 29