CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Gerald Wallace scored 25 points, including a layup with 2:24 to play in overtime, and the Charlotte Bobcats celebrated the opening of their new arena with a 107-105 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

The Bobcats trailed most of the game, but used an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter to get back into it. The game went into overtime tied at 103, and Emeka Okafor put Charlotte on top with a jumper.

The Celtics had several miscues on offense, including consecutive fouls, before Delonte West tied it at 105 on a running jumper with 3:28 to go.

Then Wallace made a jumper to put Charlotte back on top for good. The Celtics had several chances to tie it, but shot just 1-for-12 in overtime.

It was a perfect ending for the Bobcats, who played the first game in their state of the art, $265 million downtown arena before a sold-out crowd.

Brevin Knight finished with 21 points and Okafor, who had an off night with just 4 of 12 shooting, finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Melvin Ely added 12 points for the Bobcats and Jumaine Jones had 11.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 32 points, Ricky Davis had 21 and Al Jefferson scored 12.

The Celtics had a 10-point lead with 3:38 to play in regulation when Raef LaFrentz’s basket made it 101-91. But the Bobcats used an 11-0 run to take a 102-101 lead on Knight’s jumper.

Pierce put Boston back on top with a pair of free throws, then Ely made one to tie it at 103.

That’s where it stayed until West missed a 3, Keith Bogans got the rebound and the Bobcats took a timeout with 38 seconds to go. Charlotte set up a play and the ball went inside to Okafor, who made a layup that was waived off as an offensive foul.

Jefferson went to the line for the Celtics but missed both free throws. Knight attempted the game-winner but was blocked by Jefferson.

The Bobcats were bursting with emotion almost three hours before the game, when they entered the new arena celebrity-style – turning it into something resembling a movie premiere. Even the normally even-tempered Okafor was unusually animated, admitting he was caught up in the hype of the evening.

But by the time he and the Bobcats took the court, the energy seemed to be gone, especially on defense. The Celtics made their first five shots and opened a quick 11-2 lead.

Charlotte scrapped back into it behind Wallace’s 17 first-half points and Boston only led 57-55 at the half.

Nets 100, Bulls 99

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Richard Jefferson converted a three-point play with 1.5 seconds remaining to lift the New Jersey Nets over the Chicago Bulls 100-99 Saturday night.

Jefferson’s basket came after Chicago’s Ben Gordon missed the second of two free throws with seven seconds left. Jefferson drove the lane at the other end and scored while being knocked down by Tyson Chandler, then sank the free throw.

Jefferson and Vince Carter each finished with 28 points to lead the Nets, who blew a seven-point lead in the final 2:49. Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich, who finished with 26 points for the Bulls, scored on back-to-back drives in the final minute to give Chicago a 96-93 lead with 28 seconds left.

Jefferson tapped in a rebound to pull New Jersey within one point, and two free throws by Chicago’s Chris Duhon with 18 seconds left pushed the lead back to 98-95.

Wizards 87, Magic 79

WASHINGTON – Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards brought their hot start home Saturday night, with Arenas scoring 30 points and Antawn Jamison adding 17 of his 23 in the second half in an 87-79 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Arenas and Jamison scored all the points in a 12-0 run late in the third quarter that put the Wizards ahead for good, and Washington held on in a sloppy but close fourth quarter in which both teams shot poorly from the field and missed opportunities to take control.

The Wizards, playing their home opener after their first playoff appearance in eight years, improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 1978-79 season, which was also the last time they played in the NBA Finals. The Magic, yet to find their shooting touch in the young season, shot 31 percent are 0-3 for the first time since starting 0-6 in 1990-91.

Pistons 117, Raptors 84

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Tayshaun Prince scored 27 points and Ben Wallace added 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons remained unbeaten with a 117-84 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.

The Pistons (3-0) outrebounded the winless Raptors 57-35, including a 16-3 edge on the offensive glass.

Prince was 10-for-17 from the floor and made three 3-pointers in 34 minutes.

Richard Hamilton added 18 points and Maurice Evans had 13 for Detroit. Hamilton was 8-for-15 from the floor and is shooting 60 percent for the season.

Grizzlies 113, Cavs 106

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Pau Gasol scored 29 points and had seven rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies over the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-106 on Saturday night.

Gasol made 11 of 15 shots from the field for Memphis, which won its second straight game. Eddie Jones added 19 points and Mike Miller finished with 13.

LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 36 points and six assists. Larry Hughes finished with 21, while Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 each. Ilgauskas grabbed 11 rebounds, while Gooden had 10 boards.

Memphis held a slim 82-81 lead entering the final period, but 3-pointers by Miller and Bobby Jackson were part of a 13-2 run to open the quarter and give Memphis its biggest lead at 95-83 on a Dahntay Jones dunk with just under nine minutes left.

Bucks 105, Heat 100

MILWAUKEE – Terry Stotts’ home debut trumped Dwyane Wade’s homecoming Saturday night.

Bobby Simmons and Michael Redd each scored 23 points as the Milwaukee Bucks recorded their third straight comeback win over a playoff team with a 105-100 victory over the Miami Heat.

Wade’s 21 points led the short-handed Heat, who blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter to the delight of the friendly crowd at the Bradley Center, where Wade led Marquette to the Final Four in 2003.

Wade misfired on three critical free throws in the final 34 seconds, helping the Bucks ice it.

Mavericks 103, Spurs 84

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki scored 34 points and combined with Devin Harris to spark a 16-2 run that broke open a tie game, leading the Dallas Mavericks past former teammate Michael Finley and the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 Saturday night.

In their first home game since Finley’s departure, the Mavericks held their former leader to two points.

He received a long, loud standing ovation when he entered in the first quarter, but was hardly heard from again despite playing 27 minutes.

With Finley released this summer in a cost-saving move and Steve Nash having left as a free agent the previous year, Nowitzki is all that’s left of the Big Three that helped Dallas return to prominence.

76ers 111, Pacers 109

INDIANAPOLIS – Allen Iverson had 29 points and 12 assists, and Philadelphia beat the Indiana Pacers 111-109 Saturday night for Maurice Cheeks’ first win as 76ers coach.

Chris Webber added 25 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers, who nearly blew a 20-point lead.

Indiana had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley missed 3-pointers, and Webber made two free throws on the other end with 1.8 seconds left to seal the win.

Jermaine O’Neal led Indiana with 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Hornets 91, Rockets 84

HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets will have to learn how to win without Tracy McGrady.

With their superstar sidelined three weeks with back spasms, the Rockets struggled down the stretch on Saturday night, losing to the New Orleans Hornets 91-84.

P.J. Brown had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Chris Paul sank two runners in the final minute to carry the Hornets to their first road win of the season.

The Rockets found out before the game that McGrady could be out for the rest of November after hurting his back during Friday’s practice.

After a slow start, the Rockets managed to overcome McGrady’s absence, building an eight-point lead in the second half.

But they sorely missed him down the stretch, as the Hornets closed with a 17-2 run.

Paul finished with 15 points and David West added 12 for New Orleans.


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