ATLANTA (AP) — One team was motivated by the goal of dodging the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The other team's goal was resting its starters.
The result was predictable.
Chris Douglas-Roberts dribbled into the lane and sank a short jumper as time expired, and the Charlotte Bobcats overcame a 15-point deficit in the final period to beat the Atlanta Hawks 95-93 on Monday night.
Al Jefferson had 27 points and 15 rebounds for Charlotte, which remained one game behind Washington in the race for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Gary Neal had 17.
"Great shot," said Jefferson of Douglas-Robert's game-winner. "Great play. Great finish. Great win."
Added Jefferson, referring to his role in the play: "Great pick!"
Jefferson's turnaround jumper gave the Bobcats a 93-91 lead before Lou Williams answered with a tying jumper for Atlanta with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Douglas-Roberts penetrated and lobbed the soft jumper as the buzzer sounded.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said Douglas-Roberts "made a great shot."
Even so, the coach wasn't satisfied, especially with his team's defense.
Charlotte has won seven of eight, but Clifford isn't satisfied his team is playing at the level he wants for the playoffs.
"We didn't get the defense we needed out of the starters," Clifford said. "The big thing is to be playing well, which we're not."
The Hawks rested starters Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll the full game, and also held out starters Jeff Teague and Pero Antic the final quarter when the Bobcats made their charge.
"Some of our young guys got great opportunities," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I think there's a lot to take from tonight."
Mike Scott led Atlanta with 20 points. Shelvin Mack and Williams each had 13, and Teague 11.
The Hawks' spot as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference already was set, so Budenholzer was playing to protect his top players.
"I think when you're in our situation, health and all of those things are a priority," Budenholzer said.