for this game

Bobcats add to Nets' home woes

Dec 27, 2008 - 5:43 AM By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Charlotte Bobcats made sure the New Jersey Nets continued to be more at home on the road.

Emeka Okafor had 21 points and nine rebounds and Boris Diaw added 16 points, including a key layup with three minutes left, as the Bobcats held on for a 95-87 victory over the Nets on Friday.

Raymond Felton scored 22 points and Gerald Wallace added 13 rebounds and six assists to go with 16 points for the Bobcats, who lost nine of their first 10 on the road but have won two straight away from home since.

The Nets, meanwhile, are 5-11 at the Izod Center but 14-15 overall.

"If I saw the energy that we come out with at home (and) I was the visiting team, I would come in here thinking we'd come and get a (win)," Nets forward Jarvis Hayes said.

"That's something we have to change. More and more teams come in here with the same mindset. If we don't change our energy level or pick up our energy level, we're going to see a lot of the same outcome."

Vince Carter scored 19 points for New Jersey, which has lost four of its last five at home but can extract revenge for the defeat Saturday in Charlotte in the back end of their home-and-home series.

"Not showing energy sometimes can go against what we're trying to accomplish, and once we try to wake up and dig ourselves out of the hole, sometimes it's too late," Carter said.

Devin Harris had been silent for most of the evening but awoke with a layup, a pair of free throws and another layup as the Nets closed within 83-81 with 3:21 left. But New Jersey could not get a stop as Diaw powered for a basket underneath to preserve the lead.

Acquired with Raja Bell from Phoenix in the December 10 deal that sent away Jason Richardson, Diaw has returned to his old form. He entered the game averaging 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists since the trade, significantly improving on the numbers he compiled with the Suns.

"The play was just there," said Diaw, who added eight rebounds and seven assists. "It was a coincidence. Everyone on the floor should be able to do it. ... We kept together, got defensive stops and won the game."

Felton hit a 16-footer with 1:37 left that his coach, Larry Brown, called "a prayer" and Wallace hit three free throws with 66 seconds remaining to make it 90-81.

"The last two minutes when it got 83-81, we got a few stops and made some key shots," Brown said. "Raymond hit a big shot, Gerald hit a big shot, and that got us over the hump."

Charlotte shot 50 percent (35-of-70) from the floor and held a 42-37 advantage on the boards. The frontcourt of Okafor, Diaw and Wallace shot a combined 21-of-38.

The Bobcats used a balanced attack on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to grab the lead for good. Nazr Mohammed started and capped it with baskets to turn a seven-point deficit into a 34-30 lead with 5:25 left in the second quarter.

Mohammed finished with six points and combined with rookie D.J. Augustin, who scored five, to account for all of the Bobcats' bench points. Every starter played upward of 35 minutes.

"Stats are all good and everything, but the only thing that counts is the win," Wallace said. "We're trying to get on the right track and get headed down that playoff road, and right now we see the sign that says which direction it's in.

"We've just got to get to that road. I'm enjoying the night. When I wake up in the morning, I'll start thinking about tomorrow night."

Felton converted a 17-foot fade-away jumper in the final seconds of the first half to give the Bobcats a 50-41 lead. He made a free throw with 2:55 left in the third quarter to give Charlotte its biggest edge at 67-52.

New Jersey began to chip away and got within 73-65 by the end of the third.

An 8-0 run, capped by Keyon Dooling's breakaway dunk with 6:50 remaining in the game, brought the Nets within 78-75, but Okafor countered with a pair of free throws and Wallace nailed a 3-pointer to again make it an eight-point game.

Harris and rookie Brook Lopez added 14 points apiece while Dooling finished with 11 for New Jersey, which shot 40 percent (32-of-80) from the field despite making 9-of-18 from long range.

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