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Bobcats win another close one, rallying past Bucks 102-98

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mike Dunlap wanted to change the culture of the Charlotte Bobcats when he took over as coach last summer.

So far, he is definitely succeeding.

The Bobcats fought back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter on Monday night to stun the Milwaukee Bucks 102-98 at Time Warner Cable Arena, winning for the fourth time in their last five games.

The win moved them to a perfect 4-0 in games decided by four points or less, and it was a great example of how far this team has come since struggling to a 7-59 record last year. The Bobcats are now 5-4.

"There's nothing like a win to give us confidence to put another page in the playbook of how to win, how to win close games," Dunlap said. "I know we've had a lot of close games, and we've won most of them. That's a good sign for a young team."

The Bobcats ultimately won by scoring the last four points of the game, holding the Bucks scoreless on their last four possessions. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist gave the Bobcats the lead for good with two free throws with 1:38 to play, and Ramon Sessions tacked on two free throws with 4.2 seconds left after Milwaukee's Monta Ellis missed a 3-pointer that could have given the Bucks the lead.

All this after the Bucks seemed in control, leading 92-81, with less than seven minutes remaining.

"I know we don't like to play catch-up basketball, but as long as we can stay in games and just keep fighting, we'll be all right," guard Kemba Walker said. "This shows that we're fighters. We play hard regardless of the score and the situation. So we're just going to keep playing hard.

"Milwaukee is a great team, so it definitely gives us confidence to know we can play with any team in this league. You know, we're a good team. We're a young team and we're working to get better every day, and it's showing. All we want to do is just continue."

Sessions came off the bench to lead the Bobcats with 23 points, and it was his 3-pointer that capped the comeback and tied the game at 96-96 with 2:24 remaining.

Walker and Byron Mullens scored 19 apiece, Kidd-Gilchrist scored 15 with nine rebounds, and Jeffery Taylor scored 10.

The Bobcats were 27 of 30 from the free-throw line, including a perfect 16 of 16 in the fourth quarter.

"We thought they had the momentum going down the stretch, but they made the plays," Milwaukee's Mike Dunleavy said. "They got stops, they'd go down to the other end and we'd put them on the foul line, and they did a nice job of getting to the line and making their free throws. We just seemed discombobulated the last few minutes. Couldn't get into our plays. Didn't execute. That's what happens in this league. You don't do that and you wind up losing."

The Bucks had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 6-3, which is still good for the Central Division lead.

Ellis finished with 31 and Dunleavy scored 16, but Brandon Jennings was the only other Buck in double figures with 10.

Coach Scott Skiles didn't like what he saw of his team, especially down the stretch.

"Our whole approach tonight was not good," Skiles said. "We had great difficulty just remembering plays, and you know, we were just mentally kinda out of it. We've played back-to-back games now that were very similar, where our attention to detail has been poor. The other night we hit a couple of big shots and beat New Orleans, but tonight they made the big shot and they made their free throws and they won."

NOTES: Charlotte played without Gerald Henderson and Tyrus Thomas. Henderson missed his seventh straight game with a sprained left foot, and the team announced Monday that Thomas would be out for about two months with a torn calf muscle. Thomas was injured in the Bobcats' 94-87 loss to Memphis on Saturday. ... Ben Gordon left the game in the fourth quarter with a right knee contusion and did not return. ... The Bobcats will continue on this four-game homestand on Wednesday against Toronto. Milwaukee will play at Miami on Wednesday. ... Monday's game featured the league's two best thieves. Jennings was averaging 3.25 steals per game to lead the league, and Walker was second at 2.5. Walker had three steals, Jennings two.
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