Bobcats Beat Raptors to End Losing Skid

Friday, January 28th 2005, 9:07 pm
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Kareem Rush scored 21 points and the Charlotte Bobcats 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.

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, Jason Hart added 15 points and Emeka Okafor scored 14 for Charlotte.

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.

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.

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.

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.