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Bobcats 98, Raptors 97

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker scored 19 points as the Charlotte Bobcats made a late rally hold up, defeating the Toronto Raptors 98-97 on Wednesday night.

Ramon Sessions, who finished with 14 points, hit a jumper with 28.3 seconds left to put the Bobcats (6-4) in the lead to stay. Charlotte's defense then stopped five Raptors shots in the final 10 seconds to win its second straight and fifth in its last six games.

In all, seven players finished in double figures for the Bobcats, who overcame an eight-point deficit midway through the third quarter to pull ahead 75-74.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 14 points, Ben Gordon 13, Bismack Biyombo and Jeffery Taylor had 11 each and Byron Mullens scored 10 for Charlotte, which shot 41.9 percent (36-86) and overcame 3-for-19 shooting on 3-pointers.

Andrea Bargnani scored 25 points and Kyle Lowry added 21 for the Raptors (3-9), who overcame a nine-point deficit with less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 10 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan had 14 points and Terrence Ross scored 11 for Toronto.

Lowry hit a under-pressure jumper at the buzzer to tie the game at 53-53.

Lowry, playing his first game in more than two weeks, finished the half with 16 points for the Raptors, who fought off a second-quarter challenge by the Bobcats after leading by as many as eight points in the first quarter.

Andrea Bargnani added 12 points for Toronto, which shot 50 percent from the field (19 of 38), including 4 of 9 on 3-pointers, and hit 11 of 16 from the line in the first two quarters.

Walker had 10 points and Byron Mullens and Ben Gordon added eight points each for the Bobcats, who trailed 17-9 with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter.

However, Charlotte -- which shot just 36.4 percent in the first quarter -- rallied to lead four times in the second quarter, the last at 53-51 on Jeffery Taylor's 3-pointer from the corner with 24 seconds left.

The Bobcats took their biggest lead just two minutes earlier, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's dunk capping a 10-2 run to put Charlotte ahead 48-42 with 2:39 remaining. But Lowry hit three free throws and a 3-pointer to tie the score at 48-48 with 1:29 left.

A pair of Brendan Haywood free throws with 48 seconds left put the Bobcats back in the lead at 50-48, but Jose Calderon hit a 3-pointer 12 seconds later to give the Raptors a 51-50 lead.

NOTES: The Raptors reactivated Lowry from the inactive list Tuesday, where he had been since Nov. 7 recuperating from a sprained right ankle. Lowry (17.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game) started Wednesday's game in place of Calderon, who averages 11.1 points and a team-best 8.5 assists per game. ... Gordon was listed as doubtful for Wednesday's game because of a strained right knee. However, the Bobcats' No. 3 scorer (at 13.0 points per game) came into the game with 3:05 left in the first quarter. ... The Raptors are playing their fifth back-to-back series this season, and their second with back-to-back road games. Toronto is 3-6 so far in back-to-backs, and 1-5 in road games. ... The Bobcats are playing the third game of a four-game homestand, which concludes Friday against the Hawks. So far, Charlotte is 1-1, with a loss to Memphis on Nov. 17 and a win over Milwaukee on Monday.
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