TORONTO (AP) -- Jalen Rose hates being a reserve, but he sure
looks good in the role.
The 10-year veteran has played better since being removed from
the Raptors' starting lineup 15 games ago. The disgruntled forward,
who is rumored to be on the trading block, went 8-of-15 from the
field against Charlotte and is shooting 50.5 percent from the field
since he became a reserve. He shot 42 percent as a starter.
"Jalen is always going to talk about starting. I understand
that," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "But the firepower he
gives us coming off the bench is just something we need."
Toronto's leading scorer had 12 points during a pivotal 19-4 run
in the fourth quarter. The Raptors outscored the Bobcats 26-12 in
the final period.
Rose hasn't felt appreciated by the Raptors ever since his name
came up in trade talks in November. He thinks they just want to
dump his contract. He has three years and $48 million left on it.
"It's their call. If they want to keep me around I'll be here.
If they want to ship me out I'll call U-Haul," said Rose, who has
been motivated to play better since the team's radio personality
said he should be traded.
"I heard him say Rob Babcock would be the GM of the year if he
could find a way to trade Jalen Rose. The kind of sparked me to go
out and play with a chip on my shoulder regardless of what
happens," Rose said. "That kind of stuck with me."
Eric Williams, Toronto's new starting small forward, went 1-of-6
from the field for just two points. Rose got a rousing ovation from
the fans when he entered the game with 3:41 left in the first
Asked why he has such a connection with the fans, Rose said:
"Probably because I'm not a hermit. I'm out moving around, I'm
shaking hands, kissing babies. I'm out at the mall. I'm not the
kind of person you can't talk to. I interact with my fans."
Primoz Brezec had 19 points and tied a career-high with 12
rebounds for the Bobcats, who have lost eight straight.
Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said Mitchell's best decision
of the season was making Rose a reserve.
"I have a lot of respect for Bernie and my coach, but at the
end of the day I know that they were coaching together this summer
in Charlotte," Rose said. "What did you expect him to say?"
Rose sparked the decisive run with a 3-pointer to bring Toronto
within three points early in the fourth. Bosh followed with an
alley-oop dunk, Matt Bonner made a 3-pointer and Rose made another
3-pointer. Rose capped the run with a jumper, giving Toronto a
96-87 lead with 5:33 left.
Rose even passed up an open 3-pointer and passed to Morris
Peterson, whose 3-pointer made it 101-89 with 3:33 remaining.
The Bobcats went 5-of-24 from the field in the fourth.
"We scored 12 points in the fourth," Bickerstaff said. "We
just couldn't make shots down the stretch."
Brezec had 15 points as Charlotte led 59-53 at halftime.
It was the first ever meeting between the two teams. ...
Charlotte point guard Brevin Knight missed his second straight game
with a sprained left ankle. Knight ranks second in the NBA with 9.3
assists a game. ... Toronto forward Donyell Marshall missed the
game with a sprained right wrist. Forward Lamond Murray also didn't
play because of an upper respiratory infection. ... Mitchell was
the Bobcats' lead assistant for a month before the Raptors offered
him their top job. "It was a family atmosphere. It was tough to
leave," Mitchell said. ... The Bobcats went 13-for-21 from the