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Morrison, Bobcats top Sixers to tie franchise-record win streak

Feb 24, 2007 - 4:42 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Rookie Adam Morrison and the Charlotte Bobcats are playing like they want to make the playoffs.

In his second straight impressive shooting performance, Morrison scored 19 points and Emeka Okafor collected 16 and 16 rebounds as the Bobcats tied a franchise record with their fourth straight win, a 102-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Gerald Wallace and Matt Carroll scored 19 points apiece for the Bobcats, who won their third straight home contest and are 3-0 after the All-Star break.

"Everything's going right," Charlotte guard Raymond Felton said. "We're defending better, we're rebounding better, we're playing better. We're executing our offense and valuing our possessions. We're playing with confidence. We just needed time to produce and get experience."

With injuries and poor play plaguing the woeful Eastern Conference, almost every club seems to have a chance at securing a playoff berth - even the Bobcats. After starting the season 7-21, Charlotte has gone 15-12 and are just 4 1/2 games behind Miami for the eighth and final playoff spot.

"We're talking about winning basketball games," said assistant coach John Blair Bickerstaff, who was running the team after his father, coach Bernie Bickerstaff, felt ill and retreated to the locker room. "Everytime we step on the floor, we're trying to win. From here on out, that's the mentality we're going to have.

"(The media) can talk about playoffs and that's our goal, but our goal is to win as many basketball games as we can. If that puts us in the playoffs, then it puts us in the playoffs, but our focus is trying to get the win each night."

A much-hyped first-year swingman, Morrison has disappointed with his inability to score consistently this season. However, he followed a 26-point outburst - all in the second half - against Minnesota on Wednesday with another stellar shooting display. He nailed 7-of-12 shots, including 3-of-3 from the arc.

"Everybody is learning how to play together," Morrison said. "We're sharing the ball really well right now and it shows. We were playing not so well before the break and we decided to use the break to our advantage to play better."

Okafor was 7-12, and the tandem of Carroll and Wallace combined to shoot 15-of-29 from the field for Charlotte, which shot 51 percent (41-of-80), including 7-of-18 on 3-pointers.

Okafor also was battling the flu.

"He's a gutsy guy. We didn't know where he stood this morning at shootaround, but he said he was going to play," John Blair Bickerstaff said. "For him to come out and perform the way he did says a lot about Emeka and this team. He showed up in a big way."

Kyle Korver scored 21 points for the 76ers, who shot 44 percent (32-of-72) to absorb their fourth loss in their last five games.

"That was a game where we came out and ended up on our heels early," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We tried to fight up hill the whole game. Our defense was not as good as it had been, particularly in the first quarter. I think that is where it got away from us."

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