CHARLOTTE, NC, April 17 (Ticker) --
The Charlotte Hornets
may be headed elsewhere, but they certainly have momentum
heading into the playoffs.
and Elden Campbell
each scored 20 points as the
Hornets used some key defensive plays down the stretch for a
112-106 victory over the Chicago Bulls in possibly the final
regular-season game at the Charlotte Coliseum.
Charlotte earned the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the
first round of the playoffs, where it will meet Orlando. The
Hornets won three of four from the Magic this season.
"I feel good about having a chance for fourth place," Hornets
guard David Wesley
said. "It's amazing to even be in this
position after the rollercoaster year we've had. We haven't been
playing our best basketball. But I expect we'll come out
focused for the playoffs."
NBA TV highlights from|
Jamal Mashburn scored nine of his team-high tying 20 points in the decisive fourth quarter.
Garrett W. Ellwood
The Hornets, who may be on the move to New Orleans after the
season, took care of the Bulls for the fourth time this season,
but it was not easy.
Rookie Eddy Curry's
two free throws pulled Chicago within
107-106 with 53 seconds left and Charlotte faced a key
possession. Mashburn found Stacey Augmon
for an easy basket and
a three-point cushion with 32 seconds left.
"Chicago played hard and gave us all they could," Charlotte
coach Paul Silas said. "We had to find a way to win. I can't say
enough about Ice (Augmon). He does whatever you ask."
stole a pass from Chicago's Jalen Rose
1-of-2 free throws. The Bulls' Travis Best
turned it over on the
next possession and Mashburn drained two foul shots to seal it.
Chicago played well in the first half and a resounding dunk by
rookie Tyson Chandler
provided a 53-46 lead with 34 seconds
before halftime. Jamal Crawford's
basket with 5:24 left in the
third quarter kept the lead at 69-62.
Charlotte finally took command and finished the quarter with a
14-6 run for a 76-75 advantage. Mashburn's layup with just over
nine minutes remaining gave Charlotte the lead for good at
All five Charlotte starters scored in double figures as Davis
netted 18 and Wesley added 13. Jamaal Magloire
came off the
bench and added 13 points and six rebounds.
"I think we can compete with anybody in the East if we play
well," Magloire said. "That's why we are not concerned with who
we play, whether it's Orlando or anybody else."
Davis played with a sore back and P.J. Brown
missed the contest
with a left ankle sprain, but Charlotte expects to be ready and
healthy for the postseason.
"My back is getting better," Davis said. "I'll definitely be
ready for the playoffs. P.J. is a warrior, so I expect he'll be
ready to play."
Rose scored 27 points and Marcus Fizer
and rookie Trenton
each added 15 for Chicago, which went 16-37 under coach
Bill Cartwright to close the season. Rose and Crawford combined
for 12 of the team's 22 turnovers.
"Our guys played a good game tonight," Cartwright said. "They
did a great job of playing competitive basketball. I'm proud of
my team for fighting through these last 10 games."
The Bulls finished with the Eastern Conference's worst record at
21-61 but have hope for the future. Chicago got increased
production from teenage rookies Curry and Chandler down the
Chandler finished with 13 points and nine rebounds while Curry
had 11 and eight.
The Hornets have won 13 of the last 15 meetings.