Bobcats Cruise Past Winless 76ers
Charlotte 110, Philadelphia 93
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 4 (Ticker) -- Emeka Okafor and the Charlotte Bobcats didn't have to worry about blowing a big lead against the flat and frustrated Philadelphia 76ers.
Okafor scored 15 of his 24 points in the decisive first half as the Bobcats defeated the winless 76ers, 110-93, for their first win of the season.
"It's a testament to the guys in that room," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Coming off a loss like we have the other night, this shows what it's all about. They got after it. I felt that the decisions we made and the execution we made were good."
Since the beginning of overtime in its season opener, Philadelphia has led for 15 seconds. It fell behind by double digits in the first four minutes at Detroit and held the lead for one first-quarter possession vs. Charlotte.
"We're just not getting stops, especially early in the game," 76ers guard Allen Iverson said. "We wait until we get down and try to fight back into the game."
With Andre Iguodala again in foul trouble and Kyle Korver again misfiring, the Sixers fell to 0-3, their worst start since they dropped five in a row to open the 2001-02 season.
"I didn't expect it to be like this, but that is how life is," 76ers forward Chris Webber said. "It only matters how you fight back. There is a lot of fight in this team. Right now, we just have to let our chemistry on the court be like it is in the locker room. I know what type of character we have, but we have to show it."
The 2005 Rookie of the Year, Okafor clearly was the game's most active big man, adding 11 rebounds and two blocks. He made 11-of-19 shots as he pretty much had his way with Webber and foul-prone Steven Hunter.
"This is what we did in that first game, except that in the last quarter we let up," Okafor said. "We wanted to make sure that we repeated the first three quarters and extended into the fourth."
Brevin Knight had 14 points and 15 assists for the Bobcats, who had six scorers in double figures and enjoyed a 48-38 advantage on the boards. The Sixers have been outrebounded 143-109 this season.
"All of us take full responsibility for that, but especially myself," said Webber, who had a team-high seven rebounds. "We have to rebound the ball a lot better. I didn't rebound the ball well, and that's on my shoulders. If I would have done that, it would have given us a much better chance to win. It is going to come, and when it comes, it is going to come like a storm, I hope."
Rookie Sean May added 11 points for Charlotte, which lost all three meetings with Philadelphia in its inaugural season.
Iverson scored 29 points and Webber added 16 for the Sixers. Iguodala scored 15 points but was limited to 23 minutes by fouls. Korver missed all five of his shots and did not make a basket for the second straight game.
"It's one of those times where you can't buy a break," Korver said. "Free throws in and out, layups that dance on the rim, I'm shooting like I learned how to shoot yesterday. It's just not going in and that's on me."
"We are trying to get him going," Iverson said. "We're calling plays for him. He's just struggling right now. This will prove what type of player he is, not just to us, but to himself. It doesn't help when the crowd is booing him. We have to encourage him, we tell him to shoot the ball and keep his head in it."
Early in the second quarter, Bobcats rookie Raymond Felton beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer and stole the ensuing inbounds pass, leading to a layup by Matt Carroll. That triggered a 14-3 run that gave Charlotte a 40-29 lead as Philadelphia missed seven straight shots.
"We have a team that competes," said Carroll, a native of suburban Philadelphia who scored 11 points. "Our thing (last season) was finishing games. That's what we have to work on. It's a matter of closing teams out in the fourth quarter."
The Sixers trailed, 52-44, at halftime and again looked lethargic at the outset of the third quarter as the Bobcats built the margin to 63-46 on a driving layup by Gerald Wallace.
There was a half-hearted response by the Sixers, but the spread never dipped to single digits again. The Bobcats led by as many as 18 points in the final period.
"I haven't been on a losing team in a long time, and I'm not on one now," Webber said. "It's hard to sleep and you're upset and you get down on yourself, but that's just in the interim. Everybody goes through down spurts. We're going through ours now and we're going to bounce back."
"It's only three games into the season and we have a long way to go," Iverson said. "I'm not saying we don't have to get it done right now, obviously we do. We just have to just keep fighting, watch tapes and try to get better."