CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 19 (Ticker) --
The Charlotte Bobcats
can't wait to get next season started.
scored 24 points and Melvin Ely
added 18 as the
Bobcats won their franchise-record fourth straight game, a 96-86
triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers.
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Finishing with an eight-win improvement from their inaugural
season, the Bobcats (26-56) took three of the four meetings
against the 76ers and won six games in a month for the first
time in team history.
"It was a great way to end things, especially getting those four
in a row," Carroll said. "It gives us a lot of momentum going
into the offseason so that every player can personally improve
and take it right into next season. We're going to build on
"We're going to be just fine next year," Bobcats rookie guard
said. "We're going to be a playoff team next year
as long as we're healthy. There's no question in my mind about
Charlotte took the lead for good with a 17-5 run bridging the
third and fourth quarters. Ely scored eight points and
added five for a 78-66 edge with 8:10 left.
"They finished it the right way," Charlotte coach
said. "I think it's a group of young men that
maximized what they had. Everything they had, they gave.
They just kept fighting."
Carroll made 8-of-13 shots, including four 3-pointers, and
Felton scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Charlotte,
which forced 24 turnovers.
"(Carroll) shot it without hesitation tonight and that's
important," Bickerstaff said. "What's more important is they
were getting him the ball and he should have had the ball. When
he has the ball or when he comes off a screen, that makes it
better for everybody else."
scored 19 points and Andre Iguodala
added 17 for
the 76ers, who shot nearly 53 percent (32-of-61) from the floor
but were outrebounded, 39-32.
"The coaches said we could (win 25 games)," Carroll said. "They
gave us some confidence in that. Our captains and leaders on
this team stepped up. Everyone believed we could do it. It was
just a matter of going out there and leaving it all on the line
and taking advantage of the opportunity that we have."
Playing again without injured stars Allen Iverson
- the league's
second-leading scorer - and Chris Webber
, Philadelphia (38-44)
ended the season losing three of its last four contests.
"We had a lot of disappointment in the season," Philadelphia
coach Maurice Cheeks
said. "We thought we'd be a little better,
but you just have to sit back and see it what it is and see how
we get better at it. When things go wrong, there's a reason why
they go wrong and you look and see and try to figure out what
the reasons were and you work on them."