CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - D.J. Augustin looked like one of the best scoring guards in the NBA in the first half. Gerald Henderson played the unlikely role of clutch shooter when it mattered most.
Those kind of performances may need to become routine now that the Charlotte Bobcats are even more short-handed.
After learning during the game that Tyrus Thomas would be sidelined up to two months with a knee injury, the Bobcats rode D.J. Augustin's career-high 31 points and three big baskets late by Henderson to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 100-97 on Thursday night.
Avenging an overtime defeat to the 76ers four days earlier, the Bobcats won their second straight game not long after tests revealed Thomas needs surgery.
``It's a big blow for us,' coach Paul Silas said.
For one night, they didn't need their $40 million power forward.
The Sixers rallied from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead late behind Thaddeus Young, who scored 15 of his 21 points in the final period. But Philadelphia, like a night earlier in Orlando, couldn't finish in its second straight loss.
Andre Iguodala added 19 points, but missed a free throw and a jumper in the final minute in Philadelphia's first loss to Charlotte in three tries. It allowed the Bobcats to jump over the Sixers into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
``It's always disappointing when you lose,' Sixers coach Doug Collins said. ``I texted Michael (Jordan) the other night after they had beaten Chicago and congratulated him. He said ``Yeah, we can't beat you though.'
``So I'm sure Michael reached out to the guys for them to beat his old coach today. He probably gave them a little pep talk.'
The Bobcats' owner had to love what he saw from Henderson down the stretch.
Henderson, a bit player under former coach Larry Brown, has become part of the rotation though he is hardly known for his shooting. But he hit three consecutive jumpers on the same curl play from the right wing in the final 1:40. The last came with 26 seconds left to put Charlotte ahead 96-93.
``It was the same exact play all three times,' said Henderson, who scored 11 points. ``We call it 3-down and everybody in the NBA runs it. But it works because if you get two screens it's hard to defend. I came off ready to shoot, D.J. made a good pass every time and I just knocked the shots down.'
After his last basket, Iguodala missed a fadeaway before Augustin put it away with four free throws in the final 11 seconds.
Nazr Mohammed added 15 points and seven rebounds as Charlotte overcame bad shooting nights by Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace on a day of jolting injury news.
After Thomas complained of a swollen left knee following the morning shootaround, an MRI taken during the game revealed a torn meniscus.
Thomas, averaging 11.1 points and 5.8 rebounds, is expected to miss up to eight weeks in a big blow to Charlotte's depth in the frontcourt.
``Tyrus brought the energy to the game, blocking shots, dunking,' Augustin said. ``We're just going to have to pick it up and play with energy.'
Augustin provided the first-half spark himself.
After hitting his first three 3-pointers, he started driving, and it didn't matter if Jrue Holiday, Louis Williams or Evan Turner tried to guard him.
Augustin hit 10 of 11 shots in the first half, including a steal and ensuing three-point play over Williams to put Charlotte ahead 56-50 at halftime. But after Augustin hit a fadeaway to start the third quarter, he didn't hit another field goal until icing the game at the line.
``They were overplaying me,' Augustin said. ``I was coming off pick-and-rolls and they were trapping me a little bit and basically not letting me get into the lane. So my teammates came up big. Gerald hit big shots.'
The Sixers got 12 points and 10 rebounds from Elton Brand, but continued to have problems making big plays down the stretch. The Sixers have dropped six straight on the road.
``We need to know how to close out a game,' Iguodala said. ``They hurt us with the same play four or five times and we never adjusted.'
NOTES: With DeSagana Diop (Achilles' tendon) already lost for the season, the Bobcats are left with 13 healthy players while Thomas is sidelined. ... Ex-Sixers forward and Charlotte native Bobby Jones attended the game. ... Sixers F Andres Nocioni (broken finger) missed his third straight game. ... Silas said they're still running most of Brown's plays. ``They work. The players know them,' Silas said. ``We don't have to have them learn a new offense at this point.'
The Associated Press News Service
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