Published March 23, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — Gerald Wallace had 17 points, 19 rebounds and got two opponents to foul out in overtime to help the Charlotte Bobcats set a franchise record for victories Tuesday night with a 95-86 win over the Washington Wizards.
The win was No. 36 on the season for Charlotte, one more than the previous high set last season, and advanced the team a step closer to the first playoff berth in franchise history.
The loss moved the Wizards closer to a dubious bit of history. Washington has dropped 12 straight and will tie the franchise mark if it loses at Indiana on Wednesday. The Wizards haven't won since defeating lowly New Jersey 89-85 on Feb. 28.
The Bobcats outscored the Wizards 13-4 in overtime, aided when Wallace drew an offensive foul on Al Thornton and drew contact from JaVale McGee on a drive to the basket in the first two minutes of the extra period. Those were the sixth fouls on both players for a Washington team that played most of the game short-handed after coach Flip Saunders benched Andray Blatche in the first quarter.
Boris Diaw also scored 17 points, and Stephen Jackson had 16 for the Bobcats, who are jostling with the Miami, Toronto and Chicago for the final three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte needed a win at Washington to salvage a three-game road trip that started with losses at Atlanta and Miami.
Mike Miller scored 15 points for the Wizards. McGee had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Thornton had 10 points.
Thornton tied the game at 82 with a pump-fake, step-back 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds remaining in regulation, and Jackson's miss at the buzzer sent the game to overtime.
But Thornton fouled out 30 seconds into the extra period when he rammed an elbow in Wallace's face. Wallace also got McGee to foul out a little over a minute later, drawing the foul on a drive to the basket.
The Wizards were playing after one day of rest following a four-game West Coast road trip — and they hit the road again for games at Indiana on Wednesday and Charlotte on Friday. The brief stay at home presented the best chance in a while to end the losing streak, and they kept pace even with Blatche on the bench.
Blatche has become the team's go-to scorer following the suspension of Gilbert Arenas and the fire sale that sent Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood elsewhere before the trade deadline, but he played only 7½ minutes of the first quarter against the Bobcats. Blatche sprained his left ankle during the West Coast trip, but the team said his benching Tuesday was a "coach's decision."
Washington was helped when the Bobcats had a miserable second quarter, scoring only 11 points and shooting just 23 percent. The Wizards didn't take full advantage, inching their way to a 44-38 halftime lead after scoring their final five points before the break.
McGee's putback pushed the lead to 10 points early in the third quarter, but back-to-back transition dunks by Theo Ratliff and a behind-the-back kickout from Diaw to Wallace for a 3-pointer gave the Bobcats some momentum.
Two free throws from D.J. Augustin gave Charlotte the lead early in the fourth quarter, and neither team was able to pull away. McGee converted a three-point play to tie the game at 76 with 3:33 to play in regulation, but the Wizards didn't score again until Thornton made a free throw with 24 seconds remaining. The Bobcats weren't doing much better, managing only three free throws over 3 minutes.
Raymond Felton made one of two with 23.5 seconds to play to give Charlotte an 80-77 lead, and McGee cut the lead to one with a putback. Jackson made two free throws to put Charlotte back ahead by three, but Thornton's 3 tied the game.
Notes: The Bobcats went just 22 of 34 from the line. ... The Wizards' record losing skid of 13 games was set in 1967 and matched in 1995.