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Bobcats trust in Gordon late in games

AP
The Bobcats' Ben Gordon smiles at an assistant coach as he stretches during basketball practice in Asheville, N.C. AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the game's on the line, Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap wants the ball in Ben Gordon's hands.

Dunlap said Gordon, acquired in an offseason trade with the Detroit Pistons, is “an absolute killer” when it comes to making big shots.

Since coming into the league in 2004, only seven NBA players have scored more points (2,756) than Gordon in the fourth quarter, and only nine have more points in the final two minutes of a game, according to STATS LLC.

Whether he'll get many opportunities to win games with the Bobcats remains to be seen.

Charlotte was an NBA-worst 7-59 last season and lost 20 games by at least 20 points.

Not many opportunities for last-second shots.

Still, at some point, the Bobcats will need someone to finish contests, and they believe Gordon's reputation as a fourth-quarter scorer will help. Dunlap has not-so-subtly reminded his players in practice of Gordon's talents.

“I think it is incumbent on me to highlight that he would be a good option to get the ball at the end of the game,” said a grinning Dunlap.

The 29-year-old Gordon didn't start Charlotte's preseason opener against Washington, and there's a chance he may not start in the regular season.

Dunlap hasn't made up his mind yet. He said he won't name any starters until later in the preseason.

But Gordon, the third overall pick in the 2004 draft, still made an impact coming off the bench against the Wizards with 16 points in a Charlotte win.

When asked if he's ready to be the Bobcats' finisher, Gordon replied: “I sure hope so. But at the end of the day those possessions are earned. Those aren't just given to you. I'm looking to go out and earn those possessions and make the right plays and hopefully I can be one of the guys they rely on to finish in the fourth quarter.”

The Bobcats are a young, rebuilding team that's all about acquiring assets for the future. That's why they traded Corey Maggette this offseason to Detroit in exchange for a future first-round draft pick.

As part of that deal, the Bobcats had to absorb Gordon's contract, which will pay him about $25 million over the next two seasons.

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