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Wallace sends Bobcats to franchise record in wins

Mar 29, 2007 - 3:46 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Gerald Wallace carried the Charlotte Bobcats to two new franchise highs.

Wallace returned from a one-game absence to lead the Bobcats to a 101-87 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

With the win. the Bobcats set franchise highs in home wins (17) and overall wins (27).

"It's great for us and shows improvement," Wallace said. "We look back at the games that we could have won and let slip. If we had won those games or closed out the ones we had we could easily be sitting here talking about the playoffs positions, so we just want to finish off strong and have some momentum going into next year."

Despite missing the Bobcats' last game due to severe dehydration, Wallace did not miss a beat in his return, collecting 31 points, nine rebounds, four steals, and four blocked shots. The 6-7 forward hit 12-of-16 shots from the field.

"Gerald plays extremely hard," Atlanta forward Marvin Williams said. "I've been able to see how hard he plays every night. He's athletic, plus he's scoring the ball a lot more this year. He is definitely a big piece to that team's success."

After Atlanta pulled to within 51-50, Wallace helped Charlotte pull away with 11 points in the pivotal third quarter to establish a 75-65 lead entering the fourth. The Hawks would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Josh Smith turned in his fourth 20-point performance over the last five games, registering 25 points to go along with 15 rebounds and six blocks. He now leads the league in total blocked shots.

Emeka Okafor, who missed 15 games with a strained left calf injury, returned and finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks for Charlotte, which has won the season series against Atlanta in each of the three years the franchise has existed. It has won nine of the 12 all-time meetings.

"At one time we thought we were looking in the mirror," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We play so close and so competitive, but they take it a step forward in terms of how they play against us. That is disheartening because our guys were considered a young team that plays hard, but the last couple of games we haven't played that hard I don't think."

Charlotte snapped a two-game losing streak with the win while Atlanta lost its fifth straight.

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