CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 4 (Ticker) -- The New York Knicks were unable to reverse their fortunes in initial games in Charlotte.

Rookie Emeka Okafor and Steve Smith each scored 20 points and Brevin Knight dished out 18 assists as the Charlotte Bobcats posted a 107-101 victory over the Knicks, who remained winless in their first road game against expansion teams from Charlotte.

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After losing their first road matchup against the Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 30, 1988, the Knicks were hoping their inaugural meeting with the Bobcats would go differently. Jamal Crawford did his part, scoring 27 points in the first half and a season-high 41 overall.

"To be honest, my performance doesn't matter because we lost," Crawford said. "If we had won, then we would have a lot to talk about. But unfortunately, we came up short."

After Okafor started strong by scoring 17 points before halftime, Smith finished hot, scoring 16 in the second half -- including a 3-pointer with 2 minutes remaining that gave the Bobcats the lead for good, 99-96.

"As a veteran, I looked up and saw we were tied," said Smith, who is in his 14th season. "You try to come and say, 'If I can get an open (3-pointer), it would kind of put a dagger in it.' The old fella just tries to contribute when I can."

"He hit big shots," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We didn't expect to use him as much as we did. He's been sitting for a while, so he had his legs tonight. It was an appropriate time because with (Gerald) Wallace out (with a concussion), he was the next man up."

Jerome Williams' jumper with 2:58 to play in the second quarter gave New York a 48-47 lead, one they built to eight points on a dunk by Mike Sweetney with 38 seconds remaining.

The Knicks remained ahead until Smith sank a 3-pointer with a minute to go in the third period.

Okafor gathered 18 rebounds and Primoz Brezec scored 14 points for Charlotte, which has won three in a row at home.

"It was a total team effort," said Okafor, who recorded his sixth straight double-double. "Everybody contributed when they needed to."

"It was a good game," Smith said. "We played a complete game. We haven't been completing games usually when we get a lead. We all played good in the stretch and made big plays on both ends."

Stephon Marbury had 10 points and 11 assists and Nazr Mohammed pulled down 17 boards for the Knicks, who fell to 2-6 on the road.

"It's tough playing against a team that plays extremely hard like Charlotte," Marbury said. "This is our fourth game in five nights. It's tough. Our legs are tired, and it shows."