Point guard Ramon Sessions called it a scramble.
A longer scramble than the Charlotte Bobcats ever wanted, a longer scramble than they would have survived last season. This was the Toronto Raptors last possession 28 seconds and five shots long. All five of those shots were misses, two of them blocked.
Thats why the Bobcats are an astounding 6-4 to start the season, after they beat the Raptors 98-97 at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Theyre 5-0 this season in games decided by four points or less. Thats because no matter what an adventure their offense is, their defense is notably sound.
Our offense is our defense, said point guard Kemba Walker, who finished with a team-high 19 points, including a three-point play with 55 seconds left that forced a 96-96 tie. Walker managed to get a layup to the rim and draw contact from Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas. That was the rookies sixth foul, sending him to the bench for the night.
Walker hit the tying free throw. Then Torontos DeMar DeRozan made one of two free throws off a foul by Jeff Taylor. And finally Sessions put up a 16-foot jumper. It hit once, twice off the rim before finding its way through the hoop.
Somebody just about tapped it in, for goal-tending, it was up there so long, recalled Sessions (14 points, six assists).
And then .Sessions word, scramble, applies. So does madcap and chaos and raw tension. The 3-9 Raptors put up five shots two layups by DeRozan, a 3-pointer by Jose Calderon, Kyle Lowrys 13-footer and finally Andrea Bargnanis 18-footer.
Center Bismack Biyombo blocked one of DeRozans attempts and Taylor blocked Lowrys. The other two simply fell off the rim. And never was a foul called.
We won ugly tonight, said Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap, sounding proud his team survived that way. Defense has been a constant for us, especially in the fourth quarter, our fitness being a big part of that.
Certainly the numbers bear that out. This was a night when the Bobcats shot just 42 percent overall and 15 percent from 3-point range. But they blocked nine of Torontos shots and held the Raptors to 9-of-22 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Much of the credit goes to Taylor (11 points and six rebounds) and Biyombo (11 points and eight rebounds), who were essential to containing Torontos scorers.
He did a lot of the dirty work for us tonight, Dunlap said of Biyombo. We were flat. But he wasnt.