Ramon Sessions hit a 16-foot jump shot with 28 seconds left and the Charlotte Bobcats survived five misses by the Toronto Raptors to hold on for a 98-97 victory Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The victory was the Bobcats’ sixth, against four losses. Kemba Walker finished with 19 for the Bobcats. Andrea Bargnani had 25 for the Raptors.
The Bobcats pushed out to a 10-point lead with about nine minutes left on a 6-0 run: a jump hook by Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Taylor’s dunk and Ben Gordon’s 20-foot jump shot. But the Raptors tied the game at 88 with 4:50 remaining on Bargnani’s 18-footer.
The Bobcats had a rough start to the third quarter, falling behind by eight in the first four minutes. Walker was a factor, shooting an airball and then getting caught on a drive to the rim, surrounded by three Raptors with nowhere to go.
But the Bobcats came back to lead 75-74 entering the fourth quarter, and their offense came from an unexpected source. Biyombo chipped in six points on two dunks and a layup to take back the lead from eight down.
The Bobcats gave up a six-point lead late in the second quarter to go into halftime tied with the Raptors 53-53. Three mistakes – two mental, one physical – burned the Bobcats on those late-half possessions.
First Walker fouled Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry outside the 3-point line: A costly mistake because it gave Lowry three free throws. He made them all to trail by three.
Then Biyombo was called for an offensive foul on an illegal screen, killing a possession. A few seconds later Sessions lost the ball on a drive to the rim, setting up Lowry with a tying 3-pointer.
The Bobcats responded with two free throws by Brendan Haywood and a 3 from rookie Jeff Taylor. But a Jose Calderon 3 and Lowry’s 20-foot jump shot at the buzzer made for the halftime tie.
The Bobcats had a rough start, particularly forward Byron Mullens, who missed three of his first four shots, committed two quick fouls and found a seat on the bench.
Despite shooting just 36 percent in the first quarter, the Bobcats entered the second quarter down just three. Then the Walker-Sessions backcourt picked it up, with Sessions feeding Walker for a 3-pointer and a backdoor layup. The Bobcats pulled ahead 30-29 with 91/2 minutes left in the first half on Ben Gordon’s 19-foot jumper.
They extended that lead to 43-38 on Walker’s transition layup with about four minutes left.
The Bobcats got back Gordon, who left the second half Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks with a knee bruise. Gordon didn’t participate in morning shootaround, but felt good enough in pregame warm-ups to give it a try.
The Bobcats are without Gerald Henderson (sprained foot) and Tyrus Thomas (torn leg muscle).
The Bobcats have one more game in this homestand, hosting the Atlanta Hawks Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena.