Okafor, Bobcats end Pistons' winning streakDec 4, 2006 - 1:41 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Emeka Okafor and the Charlotte Bobcats found a way to slow down the Detroit Pistons.
Okafor scored 18 points to pace five players in double figures as the Bobcats posted a 97-89 triumph over the red-hot Pistons.
It marked the first time in the last six meetings between these teams that Charlotte has beaten Detroit, which had its eight-game winning streak snapped.
"I think we've proven that we can win," Okafor said. "They've all been quality wins this year. We can hang with the best of them, it's just a matter of doing what we know we can and being focused."
Matched up with Pistons big men Rasheed Wallace and Nazr Mohammed for most of the contest, Okafor shot 7-of-16 from the floor and made all four free throws while collecting eight rebounds and two blocks.
"We need to keep playing like we did tonight," Okafor said. "It was a real team effort on both offense and defense. We shut them down when we needed to but also made shots when the time called for it."
Sean May scored 17 points off the bench while fellow reserve Matt Carroll added 16. Raymond Felton scored 15 points, reserve Derek Anderson chipped in 11 points and Brevin Knight dished out a season-high 14 assists for the Bobcats, who shot 49 percent (37-of-75).
"We watched the film prior to the game and we allowed them to go wherever they wanted to, but tonight we didn't let them get to the sweet spots," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Sean is playing really well and if you have Derek on the bench, it doesn't matter who starts the basketball game."
Charlotte entered the break trailing, 44-43, before building a 77-70 lead in the third quarter. Okafor scored 10 points in the quarter for the Bobcats, who shot 13-of-17 over the 12-minute stretch.
"We were in control of this game for almost the whole game," he said. "We never faltered or felt nervous. We closed when we needed to and felt comfortable out there."
Wallace scored 19 points for the Pistons, who fell to 6-3 all-time against the Bobcats.
"We didn't play with a purpose tonight," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We knew coming into this game that this team always plays hard. Charlotte comes after you and gets on the boards. We jumped out and scored the first three buckets and thought this was going to be an easy one for us, but it wasn't."
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