Pistons Hold Off Bobcats

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Allen Iverson scored 20 points, Rasheed Wallace hit a 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left to avoid an embarrassing collapse, and the Detroit Pistons held off the new-look Charlotte Bobcats 90-86 on Saturday night.
Taking advantage of the ragged debut by Charlotte newcomers Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, the Pistons led by 29 points in the third quarter and by 24 with 9 minutes left.
The Pistons then nearly imploded, allowing a group of mostly Bobcats reserves to go on a 17-0 run to get within 85-84 on Raymond Felton's layup with 34 seconds left.
Wallace responded with a straightaway 3 -- the Pistons' first points in nearly 7 minutes -- and put a finger to his lips to quiet the crowd. Richard Hamilton then hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to ice it.
Hamilton added 18 points, while Rodney Stuckey had 13 points and 10 assists for the Pistons, who won their second straight game with their new, smaller lineup despite being outscored 30-12 in the fourth quarter.
Gerald Wallace had 22 points and nine rebounds in his return after missing three games following the death of his grandmother, but the Bobcats lost their sixth straight game.
Diaw managed seven points and nine rebounds on 3-of-10 shooting. Bell had four points and missed seven of nine shots in the duo's Charlotte debuts, three days after they were acquired from Phoenix for Bobcats top scorer Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley.
Diaw and Bell started despite having not gone through a full practice with their new teammates -- and it showed.
The Bobcats got off to a horrible start as Diaw and Bell struggled to be in the right spot to run plays and struggled with their shooting and timing. With Iverson starting at shooting guard, he hit three third-quarter 3-pointers and sat out the fourth quarter, even as Charlotte stormed back.
Wednesday's trade was the first major move by the Bobcats since Larry Brown took over as coach in May. But Brown was left in a tough spot on Saturday.
The ex-Pistons coach had more experience coaching Detroit's roster than the team on his bench. He gambled in starting Diaw at power forward -- the struggling Sean May was on the inactive list -- and Bell at shooting guard to replace Richardson.
Diaw and Bell reported on Friday, but couldn't practice because Richardson and Dudley hadn't taken their physicals to make the trade official. They took home a DVD showing the team's plays and went through a crash course at Saturday's shootaround, but they looked lost.
Diaw ran into Felton on a botched pick-and-roll on Charlotte's second possession. Diaw picked up his second foul 4 minutes in. Bell was called for traveling twice in the first quarter, and his bad inbounds pass led to Iverson's layup and an 11-2 Detroit lead.
Charlotte shot 5-of-19 in the first quarter, which marked the third time it committed 10 turnovers in one period. Bell, who became the Bobcats' top defender, also struggled to contain Iverson.
The Pistons shot just 3-for-16 and committed six turnovers in the bizarre fourth quarter.


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