CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Charlotte Bobcats have been pushing D.J. Augustin to attack the basket more. The Toronto Raptors learned what happens when he does.
Augustin scored 23 points and had 11 assists, and the Bobcats held off the Raptors 107-103 on Saturday night for their second win in the past four games.
``He (assistant coach Stephen Silas, who was calling the plays for the second time this season) wants me to come off picks trying to attack,' Augustin said. ``I come off a lot of times looking to pass or hit the roll man, but he wants me to attack a little more.
``I was just feeling it tonight, and I came out aggressive. We played a good game as a team. We've got to do that more often.'
Gerald Henderson added 24 points, Corey Maggette had 21 and Tyrus Thomas 11 for Charlotte, which overcame a 15-point deficit in the second quarter.
``We started off sluggish and I really didn't like the way we played in the first half,' Silas said. ``But we knew that all (Toronto had) been through with travel, back-to-back game and overtime last night that the third quarter was going to be important. D.J. stepped up, Corey stepped up, Gerald stepped up and the entire first group did a great job of executing.'
The Bobcats, who still have the league's worst record at 7-36, went on to lead by as many as 16 points with less than 4 minutes remaining. But Toronto rallied, pulling within 105-103 on Jerryd Bayless' 3-pointer with 11.7 seconds left.
``The guys fought through a lot,' Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ``We got out of our routine. We started off with the house on fire, but we couldn't sustain it. We ended up fighting back, and I've got to applaud our guys for that.'
Augustin hit two free throws with 9.9 seconds left to put Charlotte up by four points, and DeMar DeRozan missed a long 3-point attempt with 2 seconds remaining.
Bayless finished with 29 points, DeRozan added 20, Linas Kleiza 13 and Andrea Bargnani 11 for the Raptors, who turned the ball over 24 times, leading to 26 Bobcats points.
Toronto also was called for 36 fouls, with Charlotte going 31 of 34 at the free throw line. By comparison, the Bobcats had 21 fouls, with the Raptors shooting 19 of 24 from the line.
``You can't overcome that,' Casey said of Charlotte's free throw shooting. ``And our offense was sloppy, and we gave them too many points. We shot 52 percent from the field and 44 percent on 3s. That's good enough to win.'
Down 10 points at the half, the Bobcats went on a 16-4 run to open the third quarter, with Augustin's 3-pointer with 6:15 left putting Charlotte up 59-57, its first lead of the game.
The Bobcats would never relinquish it, with another Augustin 3-pointer kicking off a 16-6 run to close out the period for an 81-67 Charlotte lead.
``We've been playing for a while now, and the third quarter's been killing us,' said Augustin, who scored 12 points in the third quarter. ``So we came out for the third quarter, and played with as much energy as we had and came out fighting. That's what we did.'
A four-point swing with 3:57 left in the fourth quarter gave the Bobcats their biggest lead of the game. Augustin hit a free throw off a technical foul on Bayless, then Bismack Biyombo finished off a three-point play with a free throw to put Charlotte ahead 98-82.
The Bobcats shot just 27.8 percent from the field in the first quarter, as Toronto hit at better than 61 percent in building a nine-point lead.
Despite its shooting problems, Charlotte managed to keep it close, tying the score at 16-16 on two free throws by Augustin with 4:44 left.
But the Bobcats managed just two field goals after that as the Raptors closed the quarter with a 13-4 run to go ahead 29-20.
Toronto pushed its lead into double digits early in the second quarter, going ahead by as many as 15 points twice, the last at 49-34 on a Bayless layup with 3:52 left.
However, Eduardo Najera's 3-pointer from the corner with 3:26 left kicked off a 9-2 Charlotte run to close out the quarter, cutting the Raptors' lead to 53-43 at halftime.
Notes: The teams had a scare before the start of Saturday's game, when the fire alarms at Time Warner Cable Arena went off about 90 minutes before tipoff. Fans already in the building were evacuated, and players, coaches and game personnel were in the process of leaving when the all-clear was sounded. The alarm was eventually traced to a malfunctioning vent. ... The Raptors flew into Charlotte on Saturday morning after mechanical problems with the team's jet forced them to stay overnight in Memphis, Tenn. ... Charlotte rookie G Kemba Walker was sporting a pair of bright green-and-yellow shoes in honor of St. Patrick's Day during the first half. However, when he came into the game in the fourth quarter, Walker had changed to his usual orange-and-white pair.
The Associated Press News Service
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