Final - OT
  for this game

Hamilton leads Pistons over depleted Bobcats

Jan 13, 2008 - 4:13 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Richard Hamilton scored 26 points, including a crucial basket in the extra period, to lead the Detroit Pistons to a thrilling, 103-100, overtime victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

The Pistons needed to overcome the depleted Bobcats for one of their toughest wins of the season.

"It was tough," Hamilton said. "The Bobcats have been playing great basketball of late. They fought and made it a tough game for us."

Charlotte was coming off a double-overtime loss at Cleveland and played without any of its point guards as Raymond Felton, Jeff McInnis and Derek Anderson were sidelined with injuries.

The Bobcats suited up just eight players for the game and were taking on one of top teams in the East.

"I'm very proud of this team," Charlotte coach Sam Vincent said. "We came out and played hard and tough after a tough night in Cleveland, and we had a chance to win."

Hamilton put the Pistons in the lead, 101-100, with 16.2 seconds left on a short jumper from the right baseline set up by an offensive rebound by Prince.

"That was an easy one for me," Hamilton said after the usually effective long-range shooter made just 2-of-9 attempts from the arc.

Charlotte had a chance to win, but Emeka Okafor's attempt to tip in the go-ahead basket off Jason Richardson's miss was ruled goaltending. Hamilton then converted two more free throws to seal the victory.

"From my angle, it looked a little short," Richardson said. "The referees saw it and called it differently. Emeka thought something different and went for it, but you can't do anything about it now."

Vincent, however, indicated the team would be contacting the league office about the end of the game.

"The shot was going to fall a little short," Vincent said. "We got a hand on it and tipped it toward the basket. To me, it was a completely legal play. It was very disappointing to me for us to be so (undermanned) and fight so hard to win a game, but to then have it taken away by a whistle."

The controversial call came on the heels of the NBA's decision Friday to replay the final 51.9 seconds of the game between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks after the Heat's protest was upheld.

The Pistons got out to a quick four-point lead in overtime, but Gerald Wallace responded with five points for the Bobcats for a 96-95 lead.

In regulation, Matt Carroll put the Charlotte ahead for the first time in the quarter and sparked an 8-2 run late in the final period. The Bobcats took their biggest lead of the game, 89-84, on a driving basket from Wallace in the waning minutes.

Hamilton and Billups scored back-to-back baskets to pull Detroit within one, 89-88. Billups then made the game-tying 3-pointer after Carroll split a pair of free throws.

"They had a lot of energy tonight," Billups said. "We did not overlook this team. You have to give them credit."

Neither Wallace nor Hamilton could make a game-winner on each team's final possession in regulation.

Billups led all scorers with 27 points and Prince added 22 for the Pistons, who now are 19-0 when scoring more than 96 points in a game.

Wallace paced the Bobcats with 26 points and Okafor and Nazr Mohammed each notched a double-double in the loss.

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