CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 30 (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon certainly is playing like a Rookie of the Year candidate.

Gordon scored 22 of his season-high 35 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Chicago Bulls to a season high-tying seventh straight victory, a 102-99 triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats.

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"It's real simple," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "That was about a good a performance as I've ever seen in a critical time in a basketball game, from not only a rookie but from anybody that I've ever been around.

"It didn't matter. We had a lot of hands on him. He was falling away; he was slipping and getting up. That is what he's been doing all year. He took over the basketball game."

Gordon scored the final 16 points for the Bulls, who were without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich (strained left hamstring) for a fifth straight game and also were missing starting center Eddy Curry (flu-like symptoms). Chicago's bench outscored Charlotte's, 65-25.

"I can't really explain it," said Gordon, who made 11-of-17 shots. "I was just feeling it. My teammates got me open and I was able to get some good looks, and I converted them. I was hot, so all I needed was a split second to see the target and I was able to hit it."

"Ben's a good shooter and scorer," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "There are very few guys out there that can shoot like that, shoot in people's faces like that and shoot from a distance like that with accuracy, and not be afraid to take big shots and make them. He's way more good than bad."

Chicago trailed, 95-93, before Gordon nailed a spinning jumper over 7-1 Bobcats center Primoz Brezec with 1:14 remaining. The rookie guard from Connecticut gave the Bulls the lead for good, 98-95, on a 3-pointer with 42 seconds to play.

"I would say they outplayed us for most of the game," Skiles said. "Ben just had a hot hand."

After a layup by Jason Hart two seconds later pulled Charlotte within 98-97, Gordon answered with a 3-pointer over Brezec from well beyond the top of the arc with 22 seconds left, opening a four-point cushion.

Hart and Keith Bogans each missed jumpers for the Bobcats before Gordon split a pair of free throws for a five-point lead with three seconds left, rendering Hart's buzzer-beating jumper meaningless.

"This came down to one guy making plays for his team," Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace said. "That's what it was. Ben Gordon obviously made some big shots, and when he was hot, they kept going to him and kept making the shots. This is the NBA, you can't really say much when a guy is knocking down shots."

Chicago dominated the fourth quarter, making 12-of-19 shots, including 5-of-7 from the arc. For the game the Bulls sank 12-of-19 3-pointers (63 percent).

"When Ben Gordon gets it going, he just turns it on," said Charlotte rookie Emeka Okafor, Gordon's teammate at UConn. "I sensed it in the third when he started to get it going. I was with him for three years, so I saw everything. When he's like that, when he gets in the zone, you can't really do anything about it."

Othella Harrington and Jannero Pargo each scored 16 points for the Bulls (39-31), who remained one game behind Washington for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

"We just did tonight what these team has been doing all year long," Pargo said. "Guys are stepping up when guys aren't able to go or aren't themselves and have been helping the ballclub win."

Wallace scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and Brezec and leading Rookie of the Year candidate Okafor added 17 and 10 rebounds apiece for Charlotte, which is 0-3 against Chicago this season.

Gordon and Okafor both were non-committal about the Rookie of the Year race, which appears to be neck and neck between them.

"I don't know," Gordon said. "That's up to you (the media). You guys vote; we'll just have to see what happens."

"My statement has always been that you don't win it in just one game," Okafor said. "So I'll leave it at that."

With 4:55 remaining, Bulls big man Tyson Chandler and Bobcats point guard Brevin Knight were ejected after getting into an altercation.

"He grabbed hold of my legs when I was trying to run to the ball," Chandler said. "I tried to kick him off my leg and he got up and ran up on me. There weren't any punches. I just tried to get my space from him when he was running up at me."

"It was just two guys getting a little heated," Knight said. "There was a little exchange. I don't know if it warranted an ejection or not. If that warranted an ejection, there will be ejections in these league every night."