for this game

Richardson, Bobcats down playoff-bound Sixers

Apr 17, 2008 - 2:52 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Jason Richardson scored a game-high 29 points as the Charlotte Bobcats held on for a 115-109 victory over the playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Bobcats had what appeared to be a comfortable 23-point lead in the third quarter, just one night after giving up a 20-point lead in their 112-108 overtime loss at New Jersey.

"This game was a springboard going into the playoffs for (Philadelphia)," Richardson said. "But we wanted to go out and win it for our fans. It was a good win for us."

Emeka Okafor's alley-oop dunk from Raymond Felton gave Charlotte a 73-53 lead. Richardson stretched the lead to 23 points with 8:04 to play in the third for the largest lead of the game.

Andre Iguodala scored the final five points of a 15-4 run by Philadelphia to cut Charlotte's lead to 80-68. The Sixers further cut into their deficit and trailed, 87-80, after three quarters.

The Sixers continued to cut away at the lead throughout the fourth quarter, trimming a 97-91 deficit to just one, 101-100, with 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions. Rookie Thaddeus Young's dunk on a fast break put the Sixers ahead, 104-103, for the first time since the first quarter.

"It got a little sloppy at the end," Okafor said. "But we were able to come away with the win."

Okafor scored 12 of his 24 points in the final quarter, including the go-ahead dunk with 1:28 remaining.

"My part was easy," Okafor said. "I just had to put it in. I got great passes from (Felton) and Ryan (Hollins) set some nice screens down low."

Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks had indicated he would rest his starters in anticipation of the playoffs, but was forced to alter his plans early in the second half. The Sixers will face the Detroit Pistons in the opening round having and lost their last four in the regular season to finish 40-42.

"I certainly don't like the end of our season. We would love to go into the playoffs having not lost four consecutive games," Cheeks said. "But now this is a new season, and we've get a chance to prepare for the Detroit Pistons and get ourselves back to where we were."

Charlotte shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half and held a comfortable 61-51 lead at intermission.

The Bobcats finished their fourth season with a 32-50 record which is one win shy of the franchise-best 33 wins established last season.

"Those (losses) are behind us now, and we have to get back to practice and continue to work on our plays and defensive strategies," Sixers guard Willie Green said.

Green scored 27 points and Iguodala added 24 for Philadelphia.

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