for this game

Felton, Bobcats steal one from Pistons

Jan 14, 2009 - 5:54 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- It was a big night for a pair of University of North Carolina alumni.

Raymond Felton scored 10 points in the last 4:41, including the winning basket with seven-tenths of a second left, to give the Charlotte Bobcats and coach Larry Brown an 80-78 victory against the Detroit Pistons.

Both Brown, who coached the Pistons to the 2004 NBA championship, and Felton are former point guards for the Tar Heels.

"It wasn't about taking over, it was about stepping up and being a leader," Felton said. "All I was really trying to do was get shots for my teammates. But the shots came back to me, I took them and they went in."

Felton has been rumored to be on the trading block with the development of rookie D.J. Augustin, but his value to the Bobcats got a boost with Tuesday's performance. Augustin missed the game with an abdominal strain.

While Felton's offensive heroics are what most folks will remember about the game, Brown was even more impressed with the Bobcats' defensive effort in the second half.

"It's the best defensive half we've had all year, by far," Brown said. "Especially in the fourth quarter and down the stretch. I don't think we could have defended any better than that."

The loss snapped a six-game losing streak by the Bobcats against Detroit, and it ended the Pistons' five-game winning streak at home.

"Felton got hot, that's all I can say," Detroit forward Antonio McDyess said. "We weren't making any shots. Basically, that's what it boiled down to. We weren't making no shots, weren't getting no stops.

"Because we let them hang around, we weren't executing our plays, we weren't stopping guys on defense. It's like we were looking to turn it on at a certain point and it never happened. Definitely got to put it on us (players not coaches). We got comfortable, that's what it was. Careless. Like, OK, we'll make up for that mistake later on and it never came. They kept pressing us, kept making plays and we didn't."

Coach Michael Curry also felt that it was a game Detroit should have won.

"Our defense was good and we got good shots. We just didn't knock them down and we didn't make good decisions," Curry said. "When you are up 78-71, you have to finish the game out."

Felton led Charlotte with 23 points and nine assists, while Gerald Wallace added 18.

Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 22 points.

Detroit took a 68-62 lead into the fourth quarter. Rasheed Wallace kept the Bobcats at bay with a 3-pointer with 8:48 to go, putting the Pistons ahead, 74-67.

Two 3-point baskets and a jump shot from the top of the key by Felton brought Charlotte within two points, 78-76, with 2:04 remaining. After misses by Stuckey and Wallace, Raja Bell hit a jumper to tie the game at 78-78 with 1:28 to go.

Richard Hamilton played some tight defense against Gerald Wallace to force him to miss a shot from close range, but Rasheed Wallace was called for an offensive foul on Detroit's possession - his sixth foul of the game.

Charlotte took the ball out of bounds with 8.5 seconds left and worked it to Felton, who hit a jump shot from 19 feet to give the Bobcats their first lead since late in the second quarter.

Felton said that the play wasn't designed specifically for him.

"I'm one of the options," he said. "I could have penetrated and kicked it out to the guy in the corner, but I was saying to myself, 'I'm gonna take the shot and get the win for us.'"

Iverson got a shot off at the buzzer but it fell short.

"My whole thing was to catch it, turn around and shoot it," Iverson said. "It was basically a hot potato. I didn't even feel good when it left my hands. It was just a rushed shot."

The last time the two teams played the Bobcats lost 90-86 but they nearly wiped out a 29-point deficit.

"That was my first game with this team," said Bell, who came to Charlotte in a trade with Phoenix on December 10. "That's when I realized this is a young team that plays really hard."

Felton agreed.

"We showed we've got a lot of fight," he said. "We don't give up. We play to the end."

Charlotte was pleased to get the victory, which improved its record to 4-3 in January, but the Bobcats realize there's a lot more work to be done.

"We're excited about it, but it's one game for us," Bell said. "We're trailing in a race in the East and our goal is to work our way into one of those (playoff) seeds."

Allen Iverson's jump shot from the corner as time expired in the first half gave Detroit its biggest lead of the half, 48-41, at the break. Until then, neither team had been able to take control in a half that had seven ties and three lead changes.

Hamilton, who returned to action after missing eight games with a left groin strain, struggled with his shot in the first half. Hamilton made only 2-of-8 shots in the half. He finished with 10 points.

Detroit's backcourt duo of Iverson and Stuckey combined for 25 of the Pistons' first half points. Stuckey hit six of his seven shots from the field, and Iverson was 4-of-6.