Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 3)

Series starts 1/23

Game 1: Sunday, January 23rd
Game 2: Friday, January 28th
Game 3: Friday, April 1st

Raptors 94

(18-26, 3-20 away)

Bobcats 101

(9-31, 8-13 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 28, 2005

    Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 22 27 22 2394
    CHA 22 26 20 33101

    Top Performers

    Toronto: J. Rose 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Charlotte: P. Brezec 17 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Charlotte goes 17-of-19 at the stripe

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- When nothing seemed to help the Charlotte Bobcats improve their free throw shooting, coach Bernie Bickerstaff stopped trying to fix it.

    Ignoring the problem apparently worked.

    Kareem Rush scored 21 points and Charlotte finally figured out how to make foul shots in time to snap a 10-game losing streak with a 101-94 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

    "He just said he's not talking to us anymore about it," guard Jason Hart said. "He said, `Don't worry about it, I'm not going to talk about it anymore."

    Awful at the line during its skid, Charlotte made 17 of 19 attempts in winning for the first time since Jan. 5 against Minnesota. The Bobcats' only misses came in the final minute.

    Primoz Brezec had 17 points and tied his career high with 12 rebounds, Hart added 15 points and Emeka Okafor scored 14 for Charlotte.

    "Bernie is smart. He didn't say nothing to us about (foul shots)," Brezec said. "That was the right thing to do."

    Rafer Alston scored 20 to lead Toronto, which has been awful on the road this season in losing 20 of 23. Jalen Rose and Chris Bosh scored 18 points each and Donyell Marshall added 11.

    Raptors coach Sam Mitchell kept the locker room closed for an exceptionally long time after the game, and his anger was evident when he finally emerged.

    "We're beating ourselves and that's a disappointment," he said. "We've done it on the road and at home at times. Until we understand that if you want to be a playoff team you've got to go out and compete every night, every possession, we're going to have a mediocre season."

    Mitchell also pointed out recent Toronto media coverage that had ragged the Raptors' poor play.

    "I'm going to defend my guys, but they've got to give me something to defend them with," Mitchell said. "They've got to give me some ammunition so when someone insults them I can go out with my head held high and say `No' without looking like a fool."

    Despite their struggles on the road, the Raptors had to like their chances. They beat the Bobcats earlier this week following one of Charlotte's customary fourth-quarter collapses. So when Toronto started the fourth quarter with a 71-68 lead, the Raptors appeared to be in good shape.

    Instead, Charlotte came out firing and made its first five shots to force the Raptors to take a timeout after Okafor's dunk made it 78-73.

    Charlotte kept hitting its shots, while nothing went right for the Raptors. They missed shots, turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation and lost it on an offensive foul. The drought lasted until Alston's 18-footer with 6:57 to play cut Charlotte's lead to 82-75.

    "If you play hard for 30 minutes, you are going to get beat," Alston said. "We don't have our intensity level as high as we need to be. We're playing good at home, we play hard on the road sometimes, but we don't sustain it for 48 minutes."

    The Bobcats built a nine-point lead before Toronto chipped away with a three-point play by Bosh and a 3-pointer from Rose.

    But Rush answered with a 3 for Charlotte to make it 91-85 with 3:03 to play.

    After making their first 11 free throws, the Bobcats missed for the first time when Brezec didn't connect with 54 seconds to play.

    Toronto then got a pair from Alston with 47 seconds left to cut Charlotte's lead to 96-92. The Bobcats took a timeout and Hart, who fouled Alston, was disgusted with himself on the bench.

    But Charlotte closed by making three of its next four free throws to close out the win.

    Game notes

    Bobcats guard Brevin Knight missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained ankle, but will travel with Charlotte on its upcoming four-game road trip in hopes of playing before it is over. ... Toronto's Morris Peterson missed all eight of his shots before being taken out of the game in the third quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 101
    FGM-FGA 32-75 (.427) 41-87 (.471)
    3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 2-4 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 26-35 (.743) 17-19 (.895)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-34 10-48
    Assists 16 19
    Turnovers 13 14
    Steals 6 2
    Blocks 6 7
    Fast Break Points 7 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 26 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 7 9

    Top Performers

    Jalen Rose Rose
    Points: 18
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Primoz Brezec Brezec
    Points: 17
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0