Bobcats Claim Longest Winning Streak Ever
Charlotte 100, Philadelphia 92
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 8 (Ticker) -- The Charlotte Bobcats finally have a streak they can be proud of.
Melvin Ely scored 19 points and Kareem Rush added 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter as the Bobcats pulled away late for a 100-92 victory over the slumping Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bobcats, who lost a franchise-record 13 straight games from January 11-February 1, had failed at their first six tries at the elusive third straight win but were able to break through Wednesday thanks to late heroics from Ely and Rush.
"I think it's a significant thing," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said of the winning streak. "And a lot of credit goes to the guys that, after that (losing streak), they would hang in there and not surrender. Because that was a concern of a lot of people, was will they surrender. They never do."
With the game tied at 82-82 with just over seven minutes remaining, Ely got Samuel Dalembert to bite on a pump fake and drove the baseline for a reverse slam.
"It took a lot out of us tonight as a team," said Ely, who scored 15 points in the second half. "We finally hung in there instead of folding. We never were down, even in the locker room. Once we got a little bit of confidence, we just took it the rest of the way and started hitting shots."
Ely's basket ignited a 13-4 run by Charlotte that included a layup and a 3-pointer by Rush, a hook shot by Ely, and a pair of baseline jumpers by Primoz Brezec.
"This is what you have to do to win games," said Charlotte guard Brevin Knight, who contributed 13 points and 14 assists. "(The Sixers) didn't make their shots down the stretch when we needed to make stops. We came out with a good win."
Chris Webber brought Philadelphia within 95-89 with a 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining but Rush promptly answered with one of his own to restore order.
"Knocking down big shots when your team needs you," said Rush, who made 2-of-5 3-pointers. "That's what basketball is all about. Tonight was a big win. Hopefully, we can continue to push forward and finish this first half off well."
Philadelphia, which missed 19 straight shots in the second half of Monday's ugly loss to Houston, was not much better in the final 24 minutes of this one. The Sixers shot 63 percent (26-of-41) in the first half but connected on just 29 percent (12-of-41) after intermission.
"We got up 12 points and we did not continue doing the things that we were doing in the first half to get that lead," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We stopped passing the ball, stopped rebounding the ball. Our initial defense was good enough to win, then we stopped doing those things. They got their confidence to do the things they wanted to do and that's how they ended up winning the game."
Allen Iverson scored 20 points for Philadelphia but shot just 9-of-28 from the field. Kyle Korver added 20 points and Webber chipped in 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, who committed 18 turnovers and were outrebounded, 51-44, in losing for the fourth time in five games.
"When it comes to rebounding, you have to want it more," Iverson said. "You can talk about all the technique, but you just have to want it more. We stopped playing offense the way we were playing offense in the first half. In the first half, we got some easy shots, but in the second half, it was more 1-on-1 and it hurt us."
Charlotte once again was hit by the injury bug as Felton left the game in the fourth quarter with a right ankle sprain and a sprained right toe and did not return. He is the lone Bobcat to play in all 50 games this season.
"'I guess it's my turn now' was going through my head when I was out there on the court," Felton said. "I was kind of upset, but the biggest thing I was really worried about was if we were winning. The first thing I asked about when I got out of the X-ray room was if we were winning."
Korver and Webber each scored 13 first-half points as Philadelphia closed the second quarter on a 26-10 run to enter intermission with a 61-49 lead.
"In the first half, that was basketball," Webber said. "I don't know what happened. I just don't understand it. Coach has been preaching consistency all year. I'm really at a loss for words."