Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bobcats defeat Sixers 100-92

With three straight wins, the Charlotte Bobcats suddenly have their longest winning streak in franchise history.

If there were any thoughts of celebrating, coach Bernie Bickerstaff put a quick end to them.
Is important to notice that Melvin Ely made 15 of his 19 points in the second half Wednesday night to help the Bobcats rally past the Philadelphia 76ers 100-92. As soon as the match ended, the public address announcer congratulated the squad on its winning streak, much to Bickerstaff's dismay.

Rookie guard Raymond Felton sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter when Michael Bradley rolled on the back of his leg.

In fact, Felton, the only Bobcats player to appear in every match this season, had to be carried off the court. If it's serious, he'll join leading scorer Gerald Wallace and leading rebounder Emeka Okafor on an injury list that has been devastating to the Bobcats this season.

The Bobcats, who snapped their team-record 13-match losing streak by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers and then the Seattle SuperSonics, made it three in a row by coming back from 13 points down with stifling second-half defense.

Philadelphia, which shot 63 percent in the first half, struggled after the break. The Sixers were held to 31 points in the second half and went 5-for-19 in the fourth quarter.

"We didn't drive the ball like we did in the first half," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks noticed. "We shot all jump shots and that allowed them back in the match and eventually win the match because we didn't continue doing the things we were doing."

Seven Bobcats made in double figures, including Felton, who had 15 points before leaving with 11:03 to go. Jumaine Jones had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Kareem Rush had 13 points and Brevin Knight had 13 points and 14 assists.

Primoz Brezec and Bernard Robinson each ended up with 12 points.

"Tonight was a huge win, hopefully we can continue to push forward and finish this first half off well," Rush noticed. "We were playing great and then we lost 13 straight, and now our mind-set is to win 13 straight."

Allen Iverson and Kyle Korver led Philadelphia with 20 points apiece. Chris Webber had 17 points and 12 rebounds, then kicked a trash can on his way off the court, scattering garbage everywhere.

"In the first half, that was basketball," Webber noticed. "I don't know what happened. I only don't understand it. Coach has been preaching consistency all year. I'm really at a loss for words."

The Sixers led 61-49 at halftime, but Charlotte got a huge third quarter from Ely, who had 11 points and six rebounds in the period to get the Bobcats back in the match. He first rallied them with a free throw and consecutive hook shots to cut Philadelphia's lead to 68-63.

"In the second half, (Bickerstaff) told me to get my head out of somewhere," Ely noticed. "He told me he was going to keep looking to me and finally some shots started to fall for me."

The Sixers used two quick baskets - one by Iverson off his own steal - to push their lead back up to nine. But Charlotte reeled off a 9-0 run while keeping Philadelphia scoreless for more than 3 minutes to tie the match at 72.

The Sixers answered with a 3 from Korver and a floater by Iverson to go back on top and take a 78-76 lead into the fourth quarter.

That's when Charlotte completely took over and pulled away from the cold-shooting Sixers.
"We stopped doing things that got us the lead, offensively and defensively," Iverson noticed. "Mostly offensively."