CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 19 (Ticker) --
Rookie Emeka Okafor
grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds. Allen Iverson
made sure he
did not get 20.
Iverson swatted a potential rebound away from Okafor in the
final seconds as the Philadelphia 76ers held on for a 107-105
victory over the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.
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The 76ers were nursing a two-point lead as the Bobcats took
possession with 7.6 seconds left. Jason Hart
penetrated and was
met by a pair of help defenders. He appeared to be fouled on a
runner that missed.
"I went to the hole and tried to draw contact," Hart said. "Next
time I just have to go in there a little bit stronger and a
little bit harder. I thought I drew a lot of contact."
"We're an expansion team," Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace
"We're not going to get a lot of the calls that the experienced
teams get, so we just try to make the shot anyway knowing that
we're not going to get those calls."
The rebound appeared headed straight for Okafor, whose inside
play bothered the 76ers all game. But he never got a chance for
the follow shot as the 6-foot Iverson -- the smallest player on
the floor -- smacked it away from the basket.
"The ball was right there in front of me," Okafor said, "but my
body weight shifted the wrong way. It was just that split
"We did the little things," Iverson said. "Getting rebounds as
well as getting stops."
The loose ball was gathered by 76ers rookie Andre Iguodala
time ran out, giving the Sixers (18-20) their eighth win in
their last 13 road games.
"We'll take any win we can get on the road, or at home for that
matter," Philadelphia coach Jim O'Brien
said. "We've done some
very positive things on the road lately."
Neither team executed well down the stretch. Philadelphia did
not score in the final 1:51 and Charlotte's last basket came at
the 3:20 mark.
Okafor also had 18 points and three blocks but hurt his team by
making just 4-of-12 free throws. He split a pair that could
have tied it with 2:33 remaining and did so again with 1:09 to
go and the Bobcats trailing by three.
"I have no idea (what the problem was)," Okafor said. "I was
feeling comfortable at the line. I was forgetting about the last
two tonight, but they weren't falling. Once you get that
mentality (about missing free throws), I might as well try to
kick the ball in the hoop.
"I just blocked it out of my head. (I thought), 'You're gonna
make these two, you're gonna make these two.' But they just
weren't going in for whatever reason."
The Sixers led by nine points in the fourth quarter but found
themselves in a 103-103 tie with 3:20 left after a 3-pointer by Wallace, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the final
An athletic follow shot by Iguodala gave Philadelphia the lead
for good with 2:56 to go. Between Okafor's trips to the line,
Iguodala fired a bullet to Corliss Williamson
for a layup and a
Iverson scored 24 points, sinking 9-of-11 free throws. Kenny
Thomas added 21 and Kyle Korver 18 for the Sixers, who made
34-of-40 from the line. Charlotte sank just 22-of-35 foul
"(Iverson's) game is enhanced by his reputation," said Charlotte
coach Bernie Bickerstaff
, who was ejected in the fourth quarter
for arguing with officials. "They give him the ball and he
lets it fly from there."
Hart had 19 points and seven assists for the Bobcats. He
stepped in for starting point guard Brevin Knight
, who twisted
his ankle midway through the first quarter and did not return.
Midway through a 13-1 run that gave the Sixers a 96-87 lead with
8:10 to play, Bickerstaff was ejected and turned the coaching
reins over to assistant Gary Brokaw.
"They (players) lay their hearts out there and I want them to
get some respect," Bickerstaff said.