Bobcats edge Bucks
Raymond Felton had 26 points and 12 assists, and hit two free throws with 0.1 seconds left to help the Bobcats take advantage of a mistake by the Bucks’ Maurice Williams in a 102-99 victory Friday night.
Gerald Wallace added 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jason Richardson had 21 points in his first game with Charlotte and the Bobcats won their opener despite hitting just 22 of 43 free throws.
The final seconds were bizarre. With the Bucks trailing by three, Williams inexplicably drove the lane and made a layup with 0.6 seconds left.
"I thought we were down two," Williams conceded.
Felton was then fouled, and he finally put it away by sinking both foul shots, allowing Vincent to rest easy on a night he was thinking about hiring somebody to help his players make shots from the line.
"Maybe a free throw coach. We don’t have one right now," Vincent said. "Some teams do, and the teams that do shoot pretty high free throw percentages."
The players gave Vincent, in his first NBA game as a head coach, the game ball. And as the Bobcats got off to the first 1-0 start in their fourth season, it allowed them to joke about their horrendous night at the line that kept the Bucks in the game.
"You make Shaq look like Reggie Miller," Bobcats reserve Derek Anderson told Wallace, who was 2-of-5.
Wallace was hardly the worst of the lot. Emeka Okafor was 3-of-13 and Richardson 2-of-6.
But Williams was the most embarrassed. Before Felton went to the line with 7.3 seconds left, Krystkowiak, because the Bucks were out of timeouts, huddled his players in front of the bench.
"My point to the guys was, hey if they make one of these, not two, then we have a chance to tie," Krystkowiak said. "I think maybe something got lost in the translation."
Michael Redd scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half, and Williams added 20 for the Bucks, who took 29 fewer free throws in their second straight loss. China’s Yi Jianlian, the No. 6 pick in the draft, was held to two points and four rebounds and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
Felton’s two free throws with 1:41 left put Charlotte ahead to stay. But Felton and Emeka Okafor then combined to hit two of their next six free throws.
The Bobcats’ opener was played in front of thousands of empty seats and without part-owner Michael Jordan, who was said to be out of town attending an event with his son.
Vincent, Jordan’s hire in the offseason as coach despite having only one year of NBA experience as an assistant, grew agitated at the Bobcats’ free throw woes. Wearing a gray suit and a red tie, Jordan’s former teammate in Chicago, folded his arms and sighed after Felton missed a free throw with just over 2 minutes left.
Vincent said little early when Wallace made all six shots and scored 13 points in the first quarter to help Charlotte lead by as many as 10 points. But Wallace was 0-for-4 in the second quarter, and Redd scored all the points in a 9-2 run to close the first half to give the Bucks a 49-46 lead.
Yi, who fouled out in his debut Wednesday night in Orlando, picked up two fouls before the game was 8 minutes old. He spent the next 13 minutes on the bench. When he returned, the 7-footer appeared to struggle in the transition game.
Yi headed to the bench again after picking up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. Krystkowiak used Charlie Villanueva in his place in the final quarter.
The Bucks rallied even after Andrew Bogut fouled out with 3:38 left, finishing with 11 points and 17 rebounds. Desmond Mason’s half-hook tied the game with just under 2 minutes left
Richardson, who Jordan acquired on draft night in hopes of giving the Bobcats the go-to scorer they’ve never had, missed 10 of his first 14 shots through three quarters. But his scoop shot in the lane was part of a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter to give Charlotte a 77-69 lead. He hit 4 of 5 shots in the final quarter.
"It was trying to do too much," Richardson said. "You’re trying to impress the fans first time out. ... I settled down, but I know I’ve got to perform better than I did today."
Notes: Bobcats F Othella Harrington, still recovering from offseason knee surgery, did not play. ... Krystkowiak was dismayed at Orlando’s 13-minute opening introductions before Wednesday’s opener. "It’s a little bit of a concern when you let your body cool down and you don’t get to go out and warm up again," Krystkowiak said. "But it’s the nature of the league at this point."