NBA Game Summary - Houston at Charlotte
(Friday, March 13th)
Final Score: Houston 91, Charlotte 86
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Ron Artest swatted Vladimir Radmanovic's potential game-tying three-point attempt and offered a uncontested coast-to- coast layup in the closing seconds to seal Houston's 91-86 victory over Charlotte.
Artest finished with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Rockets, who have won four of five overall and seven straight over Charlotte. Yao Ming added 23 points and eight boards in the win, while Luis Scola netted 15 and Aaron Brooks 10.
Gerald Wallace scored 17 points and Raja Bell 16 in defeat for the Bobcats, who have lost two in a row on the heels of a season-high six-game winning streak. Radmanovic and Raymond Felton scored 12 points each in the setback.
Leading 80-77 late in the game, the Rockets worked the ball around and Yao nailed a three from the top of the arc -- his first trey of the season -- as the shot clock expired to give Houston an 83-77 lead with just over two minutes remaining in regulation.
Moments later, Bell hit a three and, following a Felton steal, Boris Diaw offered a layup to close it to 85-84 with 1:12 showing on the clock.
On Houston's ensuing possession, Yao was called for a foul and the Bobcats got the ball back. After a slew of unsuccessful short-range shots from Charlotte, the ball bounced out to Bell, stationed about nine feet from the hoop, and he hit a bank shot with 34.6 ticks left to give the home team an 86-85 edge.
Artest hit a jumper just insider the arc for a one-point Houston lead, and Bell botched a jumper on Charlotte's next possession to give the ball back to the Rockets with 10.2 seconds showing.
After a timeout, Brooks was fouled and hit both shots to make it 89-86 with 7.2 seconds left.
The Bobcats had a chance to tie it up, but Artest blocked Radmanovic's three-point bid and cruised coast-to-coast for a game-sealing layup.
"He didn't get it off fast enough," Artest said of the final shot. "If he would've got it off I would've never tried to block it...it wasn't a foul, they could've called a foul if they wanted. If it was Kobe (Bryant) maybe he would've got the call."
The clubs played to a 21-21 tie after the first quarter, but the Bobcats opened a slight 48-46 lead at the break.
The lead went back-and-forth in the third quarter before Yao's hook shot and Scola's jumper sparked an 11-2 Houston run. Artest's jumper closed out the run, which gave the visitors a 61-56 lead with 3:47 left in the third period.
"We changed a lot of things, going to the basket we couldn't be as aggressive," said Felton of Yao's play. "He blocked two of my shots, but you still got to be aggressive."
Houston was still up five, 70-65, heading into the final 12 minutes.
With Charlotte trailing, 72-65, Wallace had a dunk and D.J. Augustin poured in a layup to spark an 8-0 Charlotte run that gave the Bobcats a one-point lead right around the midway point of the fourth.
Kyle Lowry responded with a three and then a pair of free throws to give the Rockets the lead back, 77-73, with 5:33 showing on the clock.
The Rockets are 16-17 as the visitor on the season...The Bobcats fell to 18-16 at home...Houston shot 50.7 percent from the field and Charlotte hit 42.5 percent of its shots.
03/14 00:28:25 ET