CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 13 (Ticker) -- Rookie Emeka Okafor and the Charlotte Bobcats needed only one half to prove they are not the worst team in the NBA.

Okafor led seven players in double figures with 17 points as the expansion Bobcats posted a 105-84 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks.

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"I want to thank the guys for allowing us to have one of those," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Those young kids play hard. It will pay off next year and down the road because of the opportunities they have been given to play."

With the setback, the 16th in their last 17 games and sixth straight on the road, the Hawks clinched the worst record in the league.

"I wouldn't say it's rock-bottom," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "But I can't explain. We just played this team two nights ago. Their effort and energy level was so much better than ours in the first half."

The Bobcats were pleased to not have the worst record in their first season.

"That was one of our goals this year," said forward Melvin Ely, who had 16 points and nine rebounds. "People were saying that we wouldn't win nine games. All that ended when we beat Houston twice. The more people talked, the harder we played. When we come to play, we're just as good as anybody."

"It feels good," Charlotte guard Keith Bogans said. "I was on the worst team in the NBA last year (Orlando) and I didn't want to do it two years in a row. Just because we're not going to make the playoffs doesn't mean we're not going to play up until the last game."

Charlotte (17-61) scored on its first 10 possessions and shot 58 percent (22-of-38) from the field in the first half, taking a 65-40 lead - the largest halftime cushion in team history.

"We just compounded that problem in the first half with bad shots and not defending anybody at all," Woodson said. "It wasn't like we didn't know what they were doing. We just saw them two nights ago."

"The Bobcats play hard," Atlanta rookie Josh Smith said. "Actually they play hard every night. They blew us out from the beginning, and it's hard to come back when a team jumps on you early."

Okafor, Charlotte's leading scorer and rebounder, stepped up in the absence of second-leading scorer Primoz Brezec, who sat out with a sprained right ankle.

The 6-10 Okafor, one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year, added 11 rebounds in notching his 10th consecutive double-double and his this season. He leads all rookies with 15.4 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game.

"I do care if I win (Rookie of the Year)," Okafor said. "I want it. Every rookie wants it, but there's only so much I can do. I just go out there and play. I'm competitive, so of course if I don't get it I'm going to be disappointed. But life will go on."

Matt Carroll's layup with 5:31 remaining in the third quarter ballooned the lead to 79-49, the expansion team's first 30-point bulge.

"I was enjoying it," Okafor said. "It was definitely nice to be on this side of a 30-point lead."

The 21-point margin was Charlotte's largest, surpassing a 102-84 triumph over Minnesota on January 5.

Smith had 20 points and 14 rebounds and fellow rookie Josh Childress added 12 points for the Hawks (12-66), who need one win in their final four games to avoid becoming the fifth club in NBA history with 70 losses.

"We basically let them set the tone from the beginning," Childress said. "They made shots and we didn't. They made free throws and we didn't. It's a tough loss."

"It's definitely a positive," Charlotte's Brevin Knight said. "When you're an expansion team, your goals are maybe a little bit smaller than other teams. Our goals are to be competitive every game, win as many games as possible and not have the worst record in the league. We've accomplished that."