CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 26 (Ticker) --
With both teams
struggling on the offensive end, Tyson Chandler
's defense proved
to be the difference for the Chicago Bulls.
Chandler had two blocks and a steal as the Bulls held the
Charlotte Bobcats to just two points in the final four minutes
en route to a 94-90 victory.
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Neither team led by more than five points in the final period,
and a jumper by Malik Allen
with 4:20 left drew the Bobcats
Chandler entered the game one minute later and immediately stole
the ball from Charlotte rookie Emeka Okafor
. Antonio Davis
a pair of free throws on the other end to give Chicago the lead
for good with three minutes to play, and Chandler rejected
' layup attempt 10 seconds later.
"I knew what I had to do when I came in there," Chandler said.
"It was just a matter of getting my body to do it and finally it
caught up. Sometimes that bench can be a monster coming off of
and the body won't adapt."
"He had an unbelievable burst of energy," Chicago coach Scott Skiles
said of Chandler. "He was sitting there ready for me to
put him back in, and frankly, I may have left him there too
Chandler complained of fatigue during much of the contest and
was limited to just 14 minutes.
"Most of the time when I come off the bench, I normally can get
it going and feel my body getting warm," said Chandler, who had
seven rebounds and four blocks. "But for some reason my body
never quite caught up to the game.
"I was sitting over there and thinking that I couldn't get
anything the whole game. (Coach Skiles) gave me the opportunity
and I went out there and just tried to help my team out."
After a missed 3-pointer by rookie Chris Duhon
, Chandler again
preserved the Bulls' two-point edge with a block, this time on
with just under two minutes to go.
"He came up big for us tonight even though he felt like he
didn't have it," Skiles said.
Okafor had a chance to tie the game but missed an open jumper
from the left baseline, and Ben Gordon
provided some breathing
room with a 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining, making it 93-88.
On the Bulls' previous possession, Gordon was knocked down by
Okafor -- his roommate at the University of Connecticut -- while
driving for a layup, but no foul was called.
"I was kind of mad at the refs and the players," Gordon said.
"So I figured I'd just hit them with that dagger and make them
think about it. I don't know who it was, but I was just seeing
black for a few minutes and that's why I had to hit them with
Okafor hit a pair of free throws to cut Charlotte's deficit to
three with 53 seconds left, but Hart missed a potential
game-tying 3-pointer 30 seconds later.
"We missed shots at the end," Bobcats guard Brevin Knight
"They defended well and they made free throws and they finished
Chandler grabbed the rebound and all but sealed the win by
making 1-of-2 free throws on the other end for his only point of
The Bobcats shot just 29 percent (5-of-17) in the fourth
quarter. The Bulls were not much better, making 31 percent
(5-of-16) in the final period.
"Our defense in the second half was key for us," Gordon said.
"We stepped it up with the defense in the second half and that
was a major difference."
"We're very happy to have that win to say the least," Skiles
said. "We didn't play our best or anything. We clearly had
some tired guys and we tried to rotate them in and out and then
suck it up for the end."
Davis scored a 20 points and Eddy Curry
added 16 for Chicago,
which has won six of its last seven games.
"Tonight was just one of those nights where you take your time,"
Davis said. "They've got great athletes and you don't want
them blocking your shots, so it allowed me to just wait to catch
the ball and try to make a good move."
"He was huge tonight," Skiles said of Davis. "It's typical of
what's happened to our team. It's different guys every night
and that's what's happened all year.
Okafor scored 15 of his 26 points in the first half as the
Bobcats took a 56-51 lead at the break.
But Kirk Hinrich
and Gordon contributed six points apiece in the
third period, when the Bulls rallied to take a 76-72 advantage
into the fourth quarter.
scored 13 points and Knight contributed 10 for the
Bobcats, who fell to 5-10 in games decided by four points or
"It's something that's subliminal," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff
said. "I believe in these guys. I think that we have to put that in their minds and that's important."
Charlotte, which was without starters Gerald Wallace
wrist) and Primoz Brezec
(illness) and reserve Bernard Robinson
(left foot), has lost eight of its last nine, including three