Expansion Bobcats Secure First Victory
As the final seconds ticked off on the expansion Charlotte Bobcats’ first victory, guard Jason Hart handed the ball to team owner Bob Johnson.
The man who brought the NBA back to Charlotte, N.C., after a two-year absence seemed overwhelmed.
The 111-100 home victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night was historic. The gesture from his players was downright special
“That showed a lot of class,” said Johnson, who appeared to have tears in his eyes. “They played their heart out, and if they continue to play like that every game, I think we’re going to win a lot.”
The Bobcats wrestled for rebounds, scrambled after loose balls and out-hustled the Magic en route to the win.
Primoz Brezec, quickly emerging as Charlotte’s star player, had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bobcats. Gerald Wallace, who landed face first on a slide off the court, had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Cuttino Mobley led the Magic with 23 points.
Detroit 99, Philadelphia 91 -- Chauncey Billups had 20 points and 10 assists, and Richard Hamilton scored 17 points at Auburn Hills, Mich. Allen Iverson scored 31 points for the 76ers but was limited to eight in the second half.
Boston 107, New York 73 -- Fans booed the Knicks’ poor performance in their home opener. Paul Pierce scored 28 points, Ricky Davis had 20 and the Celtics shot 56% to get their first win this season.
Minnesota 99, New Orleans 92 -- Latrell Sprewell ended a quiet night with a flurry, scoring seven points over a two-minute span down the stretch at Minneapolis. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Baron Davis had 21 points and 12 assists, and David Wesley scored 21 points for the winless Hornets.
Phoenix 112, New Jersey 80 -- Steve Nash had 17 points and eight assists, and the Suns rode 57.4% shooting to their third consecutive victory. Despite two early fouls, Richard Jefferson had 24 points to lead the Nets at East Rutherford, N.J.
Indiana 100, Chicago 90 -- With five injured players sitting out and All-Stars Ron Artest and Jermaine O’Neal on the bench because of foul trouble, a group of role players went on a big run for the Pacers at Indianapolis. Fred Jones made three three-point baskets during a 19-6 spurt in the third quarter, and Stephen Jackson led the way with 24 points and four steals. The Bulls committed 24 turnovers.
Dallas 112, Memphis 88 -- Dirk Nowitzki made a nifty shot that turned into a three-point play in the Mavericks’ game-turning surge at Dallas and finished with 22 points. Michael Finley scored 23 points, and Nowitzki had 13 rebounds. Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 18 points, including 10 in a row in the first quarter.
Houston 104, Sacramento 101 -- Charlie Ward made two three-point shots in overtime, Yao Ming scored 33 points and the Rockets rallied in their home opener. Tracy McGrady scored 23 points in his Houston debut. Mike Bibby led the Kings with 31 points and seven assists.
Milwaukee 102, Cleveland 88 -- Michael Redd scored 28 points and Keith Van Horn had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks in their home opener. LeBron James scored 31 points for the Cavaliers. Jeff McInnis had 16 points and Drew Gooden had 12 for Cleveland.
Utah 106, Denver 82 -- Carlos Boozer had 30 points and 17 rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 points at Denver to help the Jazz remain unbeaten. Carmelo Anthony made only three of 20 shots, scored seven points and started the second half on the bench for the Nuggets.