When Knight returned for the first time with his new team Wednesday, the Bobcats used not one, but two point guards, to beat the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It was fun,” Felton said. “With me and Jeff out there, you have two ballhandlers and no matter who has the ball, they can push the ball down the court.”
And it was a combination that finally worked for the Bobcats, who appeared in danger of losing for the ninth time in 10 games as they fell behind by 14 late in the second quarter.
Charlotte used the lineup for much of the third quarter, when it outscored the Clippers, 36-17. When the Clippers rallied to take the lead again, Felton went to work.
Felton hit two free throws, had a steal, a no-look pass for an assist and hit a jumper in an 8-0 run that put Charlotte ahead 96-89 with 2:45 left. After the Clippers got within four, Wallace hit a jumper from the left corner with 1:06 left.
Cuttino Mobley’s 3-pointer with 12.7 seconds left cut the lead to 104-101. But Matt Carroll then hit four straight free throws to put it away for the fourth-year Bobcats, who had been 0-6 against the Clippers.
“Ray was real aggressive tonight, and we have to have that to be successful,” Vincent said. “Whenever he pushes the ball and gets his jump shot going, we just get a lot more energy and play better.”
Knight, starting again in place of the injured Sam Cassell, didn’t play in the fourth quarter and had two points and three assists.
“We had a lot of guys contribute to this loss,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. “We made mental mistakes defensively in the second half.”
The Clippers faded as they continue to play without Elton Brand, Shaun Livingston and Cassell. And while they held Richardson to eight points on 3-of-13 shooting, they couldn’t contain Charlotte’s new, quick lineup.
“We really couldn’t control the pace and keep them from getting fast break points, alley-oops dunks and things like that,” Maggette said. “We couldn’t slow the game down.”
They did early. Trailing 36-33 midway through the second quarter, the Clippers went on a 22-5 run. Mobley, starting in place of Quinton Ross (back), hit a 3-pointer to give the Clippers a 55-41 lead.
After Charlotte’s rally, the Dunleavy used Dickau over Knight in the fourth and stormed back.
“Dan was great,” Dunleavy said. “He helped our post game.”
Al Thornton’s 3-pointer put Los Angeles ahead 89-88 with 6 minutes left. But the Clippers couldn’t hold on.
Tim Thomas had 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting Dickau added 16 on the strength of 4-of-6 3-point shooting for Los Angeles, which allowed Charlotte to shoot 50 percent for the first time this season with its speedy guards leading the way.
“Raymond and I are pushing each other in practice and I think it’s starting to pay off, finally,” McInnis said. “I don’t care about starting. I’m finishing games and that’s the key”
Ross, hurt in a nasty fall a night earlier, was scratched when he couldn’t loosen up his back before the game. … The 5-foot-10 Knight rammed into the 7-1 Brezec early in the second half and was called for a charge. Brezec needed medical attention before returning, while Knight was uninjured. … It was a rare scene for an NBA game for much of the second half after the sound system went down, muting the public address announcer and the constant music and noise pumped in during play. … The win means there are now three other teams Charlotte has never beaten: Dallas, Memphis and Phoenix.