Jose Calderon hit four consecutive free throws in the games last minute to clinch the Detroit Pistons 105-99 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday.
Calderon finished with 17 points and teammate Brandon Knight had 21 before leaving the game with a hyper-extended right knee. Kemba Walker scored 24 for the Bobcats, but his turnover in the last minute set up the second set of Calderon free throws.
The Pistons spread their one-point lead entering the fourth to nine in the final periods first 2½ minutes. The Bobcats only scoring in that span was two free throws by Ramon Sessions. Rodney Stuckeys four consecutive points gave Detroit an 86-77 lead.
Consecutive dunks by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist closed Detroits lead to 96-95 with just under three minutes left.
The Bobcats trailed 77-76 entering the fourth quarter. They squandered their last possession of the third in a familiar way with a shot-clock violation when center Brendan Haywood ended up with the ball on an in-bounds pass.
The Pistons lost Knight midway through the third quarter when Walker appeared to fall on Knight after losing the ball at the top of the lane.
The Bobcats made up an early 11-point deficit to lead at halftime 56-55. Sessions and Walker combined for 24 first-half points on a night when the starting frontcourt Byron Mullens, Bismack Biyombo and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist totaled just five points.
The Bobcats were coming off a road victory in Orlando, in which they had to fend off a big late run by the Magic. That seemed to take something out of them, because they were surely flat early, trailing 16-5 in the games first six minutes. The Pistons kept attacking the rim, scoring 10 of their first 16 points in the lane.
Sessions kept the Bobcats in the game with 11 first-quarter points, making five of his first six shots. Mullens, so effective in Orlando, seemed to lack energy and took a seat for much of the first quarter.
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap went to backup center Brendan Haywood early and he came through with four rebounds and a block during the comeback. Charlotte took its first lead (29-28) about a minute into the second quarter on reserve forward Jeff Adriens 17-foot jump shot.
The Pistons got life off the bench from reserve forward Viacheslav Kravtsov, who made all three of his first-half shots, before Sessions made a late three-pointer for the halftime margin.
The Bobcats have home games on consecutive nights, playing the Chicago Bulls Friday and the Denver Nuggets Saturday.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less