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Morrison carries Bobcats over Timberwolves

Feb 22, 2007 - 6:24 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Down the stretch, rookie Adam Morrison took on the Minnesota Timberwolves by himself.

Morrison scored 13 of his 26 points during a pivotal fourth-quarter run and Emeka Okafor collected 12 points and 19 rebounds as the Charlotte Bobcats posted their third straight win, a 100-95 victory over the Timberwolves.

Matt Carroll netted 20 points for the Bobcats, who snapped a four-game road losing streak with the impressive win. After Charlotte's win vs. New Orleans on Tuesday, it rested its starters early, allowing the reserves to score 38 points and spark the victory.

"I thought the guys came off the bench and really got us started because the starters played 40 minutes or so (Tuesday)," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "They got after it and gave our starters a chance to breathe and rest."

A scoring machine in college, Morrison has been inconsistent in his first professional season. Maligned for his lack of quickness and his inability to be a reliable outside shooter, Morrison figured it out on Wednesday.

"(Morrison) has really been a different player these last two nights," Bickerstaff said. "He's gotten his rest. He's been putting in his time, taking extra shooting. You are going to hit the wall, I don't care who you are. And then you get some time back and things get better and a couple of shots go in. He shot an assortment of shots tonight - off one leg, off the move. It was just a great game.

Trailing, 88-84, with 4:50 left, Charlotte went on a 13-2 run - all scored by Morrison - capped off by the 6-8 swingman's jumper to make it 97-90 with 1:02 left. He nailed three shots from the arc during the spurt.

"I thought that Adam was terrific in the fourth quarter, but there were a lot of things that we did to help him," Bickerstaff said. "We got him the ball."

"My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball in the right situation when I was hot," Morrison said. "That's what the NBA is all about, getting the ball to the guy who is hot. Tonight, it was my night."

Overall, Morrison was 10-of-19 from the floor, including 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, in 29 minutes. Okafor was 6-of-11 from the field and snared 11 offensive rebounds for the Bobcats, who shot 44 percent (37-of-85) and and outrebounded the Timberwolves, 46-35.

"You have to do what gives you the edge," Okafor said. "Tonight Adam was hot. We fed him and we had a couple of key hustle plays."

Kevin Garnett had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which shot 49 percent (35-of-72) but absorbed its third loss in five games.

Interim coach Randy Wittman called out his team after the game.

"You got to have talent to win, but with talent you got to have the right frame of mind," Wittman said. "Right now, our frame of mind is more focused on 'me' rather than 'we.' That was evident tonight.

"We're up 17 and have control of the game and we get caught up in, 'Am I getting enough shots?' and 'Has the ball touched my hands enough?' Then, we quit playing. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you quit playing, you're not going to win."

The Timberwolves are just one-half game behind New Orleans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But Wittman still is in search of a cohesive team.

"We're 25-29. I'm not worried about losing my team, I'm worried about finding guys that want to play," Wittman said. "Now, if you lose some individuals because of that, then so be it. I need five guys who want to win rather than get 16 points and 10 rebounds."

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