CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 23 (Ticker) -- Rookie Emeka Okafor was not going to let the Charlotte Bobcats blow another chance at history.

Okafor scored 10 of his 22 points in the third quarter as the Bobcats snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 91-89 victory over the Detroit Pistons and became the first expansion team since 1971 to defeat the defending NBA champions.

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"We moved the ball, we really defended, we executed," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "This was something good that we needed to happen for this basketball team."

After a back-and-forth first quarter, Detroit took a 28-25 lead on a jumper by Smush Parker with just over nine minutes remaining in the half. Charlotte took over after that, closing the quarter with a 26-7 run.

Okafor, who scored six points in the final 90 seconds of the first half, made the lead stand by scoring 10 of the Bobcats' first 14 points in the third period, which ended with Charlotte holding a 73-54 lead.

The Bobcats opened a 13-point lead at Detroit on Sunday, but could not hold on as the Pistons pulled out a 117-116 double-overtime victory.

"It felt good," said Okafor, who missed a potential game-winning jumper Sunday. "Everybody was really focused. We came determined to get this one. When we have taken big leads, we have lost it like that so many times. We came back strong and pulled out a victory."

"It was a great win for us," Charlotte guard Brevin Knightsaid. "The biggest thing is to finish at the end. We've had so many games where we've played well for one half or three quarters and the other team has pulled it out in the end."

Chauncey Billups, who was suspended for Sunday's game because of his role in Detroit's brawl with Indiana on Friday, scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including a jumper with 1:24 to play that cut the deficit to 83-77.

Antonio McDyess missed two free throws that could have drawn the Pistons closer before Okafor converted a layup that pushed the lead back to eight with 40 seconds on the clock. Detroit never got closer than four until a meaningless 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

"That was one we needed to get through," Bickerstaff said. "You could see it on our faces that we might have been waiting for something bad to happen. The bottom line is that you have to play to win."

"The first three quarters were the biggest difference," Billups said. "They were aggressive and we weren't. This team thought they could beat us, they thought they should have won the other night and they came out today and validated it. They kicked out (tail)."

Okafor also recorded a season-high 15 rebounds, helping the Bobcats dominate the boards, 44-32. Sixteen of Charlotte's rebounds came on the offensive end.

Knight recorded a season-high 19 assists for Charlotte, which became the first expansion team to defeat the defending champions since the Buffalo Braves and Portland Trail Blazers beat the New York Knicks in the 1970-71 season.

"I just try to run the show," Knight said. "A lot of credit goes to those guys for making shots when I get it to them. I enjoy getting assists. I told these guys that's how I make my living, getting assists. So I'll just keep trying to do it."

Detroit was playing without coach Larry Brown, who did not travel with the team because of potential complications from hip surgery he had earlier this month.

His replacement, Gar Heard, was ejected from the game with 7:18 left for arguing a call.

Rasheed Wallace joined him in the locker room less than a minute later, picking up his second technical foul after tossing his headband into the stands.

"Since (suspended Indiana forward Ron) Artest is out, I know I'm on the blacklist," Wallace said. "I've got that target on my back."