CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 1 (Ticker) -- Primoz Brezec
points and Brevin Knight
had a strong all-around game as the
expansion Charlotte Bobcats posted a 94-87 victory over the
undermanned Sacramento Kings.
Sacramento played without center Brad Miller
and forwards Peja Stojakovic
and Darius Songaila
. The injured big men, who
average a combined 42.1 points, were sorely missed as all five
Sacramento starters reached double figures but the bench
contributed just 10 points.
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Charlotte is one team in the league that understands what the
Kings are dealing with, having missed the fourth most games in
the NBA because of injuries.
"I empathize," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff
that's the extent of it. I know how difficult it is, especially
when you think about how long they've been out on the road.
It's tough anyway, but I credit our guys. They didn't really
get anything easy."
Sacramento coach Rick Adelman
was upset with his team's sloppy
"We played awful tonight," Adelman said. "I can't remember the
last time we had 12 assists and 23 turnovers. We just didn't
take care of the basketball and we didn't have any energy. The
energy level was really, really low. We can't complain about the
schedule, we had an off day yesterday. We just didn't have it
Playing well against Mike Bibby
, Knight scored 17 points and
dished out 10 assists while shooting 7-of-10 from the floor.
Bibby struggled all night, shooting 4-of-15 and committing eight
of Sacramento's 23 turnovers.
"It was a great game for us," Knight said. "It was a great team
effort. We defended well against a high-scoring team. We did
well against the guards, knowing they had to take a majority of
the shots with their big guys being gone. It was a good win for
"We did a much better job of converting turnovers," Bickerstaff
said. "We got 25 points off their turnovers. We got a victory
and we needed one, but you can't be satisfied with that, unless
you say on a bad night you got it done."
In the first half, Brezec had 12 points and the Bobcats scored
18 off of 12 Kings turnovers to forge a 55-45 lead.
"They were a little bit shorthanded," Brezec said. "But we
can't look past the guys they had tonight. We started to pound
the ball inside and created a balance with our inside and
outside game, and that was the key."
Sacramento trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter
but trimmed the lead to 66-60 on a jumper by Cuttino Mobley
3:02 left in the period. But the Bobcats countered with a 7-0
run to close out the quarter, capped by a 3-pointer by Theron Smith
at the buzzer.
"They got a lot of easy shots tonight," Sacramento center Brian Skinner
said. "We wanted them to primarily take jump shots, but
they made most of their shots going to the basket."
Sacramento cut the lead to five, 77-72, on a pair of free throws
by Bibby, but the Bobcats - who have struggled to hold leads in
the fourth quarter - responded with six straight points,
pushing the lead back to double digits.
"We came out and executed," Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace
said. "We sustained the lead and executed in the fourth quarter
and got a win against a very good team. Anytime you are
capable of doing that, it's just a great feeling. What better
feeling can you have than that to get a win?"
Wallace scored 16 points and rookie Emeka Okafor
added 11 and 13
rebounds for Charlotte.
The newly acquired trio of Skinner, Corliss Williamson
and Kenny Thomas
combined to score 46 points for the Kings.
"The three guys we got (in the trade) played hard tonight,"
Adelman said. "Our two guards (Bibby and Mobley) really had a
tough night. You're not going to go far in this league,
especially having three guys out, shorthanded, with play like
The Kings are in the midst of a six-game road swing and could be
once again with our the services of Stojakovic and Miller.
"I don't know if we're going to have them tomorrow night or
not," Adelman said.
Charlotte will go for its first winning streak of the season
with a game in New Orleans against the city's former team, the
"They're playing well," Knight said of New Orleans. "They're
definitely getting after it. They haven't quit. They have the
same mentality that we have in that they're just going to play
hard. Guys are trying to prove they belong in the league, the
same thing we're doing here."