Final - OT
  for this game

Bobcats win third straight behind Okafor

Jan 18, 2009 - 7:26 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Emeka Okafor scored six of his 22 points in overtime and got a key rebound late in the game to lift Charlotte to a 102-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Raymond Felton scored the game's winning points for the second straight game for Charlotte, which has put together its first three-game winning streak under coach Larry Brown and has now won five of seven.

"Gerald (Wallace) played phenomenal throughout the whole game," Okafor said. "And then at different key points people chimed and helped us get the victory. I just found a way to help my teammates and get another good win for us."

Portland has lost two of the last three on its East Coast road trip and three straight to the Bobcats.

After Travis Outlaw's basket, Okafor scored the next four points as Charlotte took a 94-92 lead. Felton jumper in the lane put the Bobcats up for good at 99-97. Okafor grabbed an offensive rebound with 31 seconds left in overtime, which allowed the Bobcats to run more clock and seal the victory.

"He gets better by the minute," Brown said of Okafor. "He's become a big part of our offense. When big guys are rewarded in every area, their game picks up."

Sergio Rodriguez opened the final period with a bucket to put the Blazers in the lead. Portland held the lead until Juwan Howard's basket put Charlotte in the lead at 73-72.

"We're playing team ball now and that helps my game," Okafor said. "When teams start passing, it's contagious and everyone starts seeing the openings and it brings about good results."

Rodriguez put Portland in the lead again, 77-75, but Wallace converted three-point plays on consecutive possessions, including one on a dunk that sent Greg Oden to the bench with six fouls.

"You always need an energy play, and that's what you could consider an energy play," Wallace said. "I think that was a play that got our fans, our bench, our coaches and the guys that were out on the court into the game."

Charlotte extended its lead to 88-83 after a driving layup from Felton. Rudy Fernandez drained a three from the right wing to cut the lead to two and LaMarcus Aldridge slammed home an offensive rebound to tie the game, 88-88, with 38 seconds to play.

Felton put Charlotte back in the lead 90-88 on a floater in the lane with 15 seconds left. Brandon Roy put back his own miss on the ensuing possession for the 16th tie of the game.

The Bobcats opened the third quarter and quickly took a seven-point lead on Wallace's basket. The Blazers answered back and Jerryd Bayless gave Portland its first lead of the half at 60-58.

The teams traded baskets the rest of the way with Wallace hitting a three in the final minute for a 67-67 tie heading to the fourth quarter.

Charlotte led 50-45 at the break behind 12 points from Wallace.

The Trail Blazers, who were led by Aldridge with 21 points, struggled mightily from the line. Portland was just 16-of-31 from the charity stripe, including a 3-of-10 performance from Roy.

"You have to knock down your free throws," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We just missed opportunities and, once you come up with a stop, you have to execute on offense. We just have to execute better."

Charlotte was paced by Wallace's 31 points and 16 rebounds while Felton was one of four starters in double figures with 16 points.