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Okafor, Carroll lead Bobcats over Jazz

Dec 23, 2006 - 5:45 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Hopes of a second straight comeback by the Utah Jazz were ended by Emeka Okafor and Matt Carroll.

Okafor scored 14 points in the second period and Carroll scored all 16 of his points in the fourth as the Charlotte Bobcats held on for a 101-89 victory over the Jazz.

Raymond Felton has 18 points and 12 assists for the Bobcats, who had dropped six of their last seven games.

"I can't remember coming in a game and scoring all my points in just the fourth quarter," Carroll said. "You always want to step up for your teammates. I just tried to do everything I could and things finally got rolling and I kept it going."

Okafor scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Felton nine in the second quarter as Charlotte outscored Utah by 17 points to take a 53-33 lead into the half.

"We just got on them and stayed on them (in the second quarter)," Okafor said. "We had energy and went out there and attacked. I've been a roll for a couple of games and I just went out there and did it again," Okafor said. "It was just nice to get a win."

Utah turned the ball over 19 times and was beaten, 16-8, on the offensive boards.

"I don't know that we understand what it takes to be good all the time," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "Teams get ready to play you if they think you have a decent team. Everybody gets ready to play you. There are no days off. That's the way it's supposed be and we didn't stand up to what they dished out to us."

Utah, which overcame a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to top Atlanta, 112-106, on Wednesday, tried to stage a second straight miraculous comeback. Carlos Boozer scored 12 of his 22 points and Utah scored on nine straight possessions during a third-quarter surge to pull within 10.

Utah got within 79-72 with 8:45 left in the game before Carroll dropped in a 3-pointer from the right wing, got fouled and converted the free throw.

"It would have been just a three, but (Andrei Kirilenko) walked underneath me and knocked a tooth out," Carroll said. "I said to him, 'Are you OK?' And he looked at me and said, 'It's just a tooth.' The thing that flashed in my head is Rocky and the Russian. I'm thinking this guy is a tough Russian."

The Jazz closed within 89-84 before Carroll converted a three-point play on a drive down the middle with 3:14 left. The fourth-year player hit a 3-point dagger with 57 seconds left for a 97-87 lead.

"We didn't decide to execute until we got to the latter part of the ballgame," Sloan said. "We just went down and exchanged positions on the floor with each other. That's why they waxed us all night long. They set good screens and set their teammates up and worked hard on the defensive end of the floor."

Carroll finished 4-of-7 from the floor to reach his season high in points for a third straight game. He also converted all six of his free throws. Okafor scored 22 on 9-of-12 and added 10 rebounds.

"The more offensive weapons you have the easier it is on you," Okafor said. "When other people are playing well the attention goes to them. I had a lot of easy looks tonight and that was because my teammates were scoring. Whenever you have that, it's a blessing."

Charlotte guard Brevin Knight re-aggravated a groin injury in the third quarter and did not return. Utah center Mehmet Okur injured his left ribs in the fourth quarter.

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