Bobcats put on show for Jordan
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The final seconds ticked down and Michael Jordan slowly rose from his seat. He waited until the final buzzer and then briefly clapped.
Jordan showed little emotion after the Charlotte Bobcats won their first game in three tries since he agreed to buy the team. And why not? Beating the Los Angeles Lakers has become routine for this franchise.
No matter the personnel, coach or even the impending owner, the Bobcats own the defending champions. The combination of Stephen Jackson (21 points) and Gerald Wallace (17 points, 10 rebounds) overcame 26 points from Kobe Bryant last night in Charlotte's 98-83 victory.
"I really don't know," Wallace replied when asked to explain Charlotte's seven wins in the last nine meetings. "You can say that about them and you can say that about Cleveland."
The Bobcats are 3-1 against the NBA-best Cavaliers this season. Oh, and they've lost twice to the six-win New Jersey Nets. It's why they're still a game behind Miami for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"Those top teams bring out the best and they bring out big crowds," Wallace said. "Come to a New Jersey game and we probably have 500 people."
Getting more fans in the stands is one of Jordan's top priorities when he's expected to take over as owner by the end of the month. It wasn't a problem yesterday, when the sold-out crowd watched the Lakers show little energy a night after a wild overtime loss at Miami.
"We just looked flat," Bryant said.
Bryant, who was 9 for 21 from the field, got little help. The Lakers shot 36 percent, committed 20 turnovers and matched their number of road losses (12) from last season.
There were plenty of culprits. Pau Gasol shot 5 for 14, Andrew Bynum 3 for 9 and Ron Artest 1 for 9.
Pistons: Detroit's Rodney Stuckey was conscious and breathing on his own as he was taken to a hospital after collapsing on the Pistons' bench during a game last night at Cleveland.
The Pistons said Stuckey was taken to the Cleveland Clinic and his vital signs were stable, but was going for further testing and observation.
Stuckey was wheeled off the court on a stretcher during the third quarter after he collapsed into a trainer's arms on the bench during the game against the Cavaliers. Cleveland won, 99-92.
Stuckey walked off the floor for a timeout showing no signs of illness. After a few moments in a chair, though, Stuckey slumped over.