The Charlotte Bobcats came out firing from the start Friday night to win 98-91 over the Atlanta Hawks.
They scored 36 points in the first quarter breaking records for field goal percentage (.810), field goals made (17), and assists (14). Playing to head coach Larry Brown’s ball movement style, Boris Diaw and Raymond Felton each had five assists in the first quarter.
“The first quarter was about as good as we’ve ever played,” said Larry. “We had twenty assists in the first half and that was pretty incredible.”
But it was Gerald Wallace who outscored all players with 21, while adding seven rebounds. He refused to be denied scoring all of his points in three quarters in a variety of different ways, taking it to the hole dunking emphatically as usual, and pulling up jump shots from all over.
“We know we can get shots when we want to, we know we can score points when we want to and we’re able to get stops when we want to.”
This win was big for the Bobcats in keeping them in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race, and tying the franchise record set last year around the same time with five straight wins.
The Bobcats outplayed the Hawks in all areas in a game that was all theirs through three quarters, although a couple of missed free throws by Felton kept the Bobcats lead at six, 96-90 with 29 seconds remaining.
But after a questionable non-call that had Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Woodson fuming, Felton redeemed himself with two free throws to put the game away for good.
“This was a big game for us. This was team that is a playoff team and it was a win that we need so that we can get closer and closer to our goal.”
That goal being what would be the franchise’s first trip to the playoffs in history.