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Smith's 18-footer sinks Bobcats at the buzzer

By Rick Bonnell
rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

J.R. Smith hit a buzzer-beating 18-footer for the New York Knicks to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 100-98 Wednesday.

Carmelo Anthony had 23 points for the Knicks, while the Bobcats got 25 from Kenba Walker.

The Bobcats lost their fifth straight game, falling to 7-10. The Knicks improved to 13-4.

Ben Gordon committed back-to-back turnovers (a five-second violation with him as the inbound passer and a walk), giving the Knicks possession with 39 seconds left and a tie game.

The Bobcats got a stop on the ensuing possession, but then Michael Kidd-Gilchrist threw away a cross-court pass. The Knicks called timeout with possession with 3.4 seconds left.

After trailing by as much as six in the third quarter, the bobcats came back to lead 69-67 with five minutes left in that period on five straight points. First Walker completed a 3-point play with a spin move to the basket and a free throw off Steve Novak’s foul. Then Michael Kidd-Gilchrist drove the lane for a layup and the two-point lead.

The Bobcats led 75-72 entering the fourth quarter, after finally slowing down Anthony. He missed all six of his shots in the third quarter.

The defense continued in the fourth quarter with Gerald Henderson and Bismack Biyombo blocking back-to-back Anthony shots. After that second block Biyombo ran down court wagging his finger, imitating how former NBA great Dikembe Mutombo celebrated blocks.

The Bobcats led the Knicks 53-51 at halftime after leading by as much as 10 in the second quarter.

The Bobcats shot extremely well – 51 percent – against a Knicks team that has played fine defense this season. However, a variety of Bobcats tried and failed to guard Anthony, whose combination of strength and shooting skill has frequently perplexed this franchise.

Anthony scored 20 points in 20 minutes before halftime and along the way put rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor in early foul trouble, Finally coach Mike Dunlap used Gerald Henderson on Anthony, to little more success.

When the Bobcats tried to double-team the ball out of Anthony’s hands, he easily found teammates Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton for layups. Chandler, a non-factor offensively in his one season as a Bobcat, had eight points in the first quarter alone.

The Bobcats’ Kemba Walker made five of nine field-goal attempts before halftime for 12 points. Ben Gordon continued his tear from the 3-point line. He had two first-half threes and 12 first-half points.

The Bobcats are in Milwaukee Friday night to face the Bucks before a Saturday home date against the San Antonio Spurs.

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