Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Saturday, November 6th
Game 2: Friday, January 7th
Game 3: Monday, March 21st
Game 4: Thursday, March 24th

Magic 100

(2-1, 1-1 away)

Bobcats 111

(1-1, 1-1 home)

    7:00 PM ET, November 6, 2004

    Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 22 20 21 37100
    CHA 20 29 30 32111

    Top Performers

    Orl: C. Mobley 23 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Cha: P. Brezec 20 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast

    Okafor wins first battle with Howard

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- 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 after a two-year absence seemed overwhelmed.

    The 111-100 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 outhustled 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, added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

    Steve Smith had 14 points, and Jason Hart had 14 points and 11 assists.

    Cuttino Mobley led the Magic with 23 points. Grant Hill, playing in his first back-to-back games since Dec. 15-16, 2002, scored 16 for the Magic. Hedo Turkoglu also had 16.

    Hill said the Magic will forever carry the burden of being the first team to lose to the Bobcats.

    "To this day I know who Orlando's first win was -- the Detroit Pistons," Hill said. "We don't want to be their first win. It goes down in history."

    The over-hyped first meeting between the first two picks in the NBA draft never materialized.

    Brezec made sure of that by shutting down rookie Dwight Howard, who Orlando chose over Charlotte's Emeka Okafor with the No. 1 selection.

    Howard, in foul trouble most of the game, didn't score until late in the fourth quarter. He played just 23 minutes and finished with five points and 12 rebounds -- but seven came when Charlotte was leading by double digits.

    "I just got a little overanxious," said Howard, who insisted it had nothing to do with facing Okafor. "I played him just like everybody else."

    But Okafor was better, with 12 points and 14 rebounds. He still showed growing pains, though. Turkoglu had a thunderous dunk on him in the first half, he picked up a few careless fouls, and his shot selection was suspect at times on 5-of-14 shooting.

    Afterward, he downplayed the encounter with Howard while praising his opponent.

    "Man, it was the Bobcats versus the Magic, that's all," Okafor said. "He really impressed me. He's going to be an excellent player. He's really a lot stronger than I thought."

    The Bobcats built a 22-point lead in the third quarter then sat back and let Smith, Charlotte's lone veteran, preach patience as they nursed home the lead through the fourth quarter. It was a turnaround from the opener, when they were tied with Washington late before crumbling as the Wizards pulled away.

    "All I can say is those young men deserve it, they play hard and they never surrendered," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "But we still do some things that can cause cardiac arrest."

    Steve Francis, who twice made the game-winning basket in Orlando's first two games, was held to nine points on 4-of-12 shooting.

    When he fouled out with just under 4 minutes to play, walking directly off the court and through the tunnel after picking up the foul in the corner, the Charlotte crowd showed it still knows how to jeer by taunting Francis the entire way.

    The pace reached a frenzied height in the third quarter when the Bobcats pulled away. Francis took a hard tumble off the scorer's table and into the first row of seats on one possession, and Wallace later went flying off the court when he was fouled by Hill under the basket.

    Both players took their time getting up, but it was Wallace's acrobatics that got the crowd excited.

    The Bobcats rode the fan enthusiasm to a 70-48 lead, and enticed the crowd by waving their arms to get the fans on their feet.

    "We definitely overlooked this team," Francis said. "When you overlook teams, these are the results you will get."

    Game notes

    Charlotte forward Theron Smith will have surgery on his right knee Monday, and will be out at least six weeks. ... The Magic were trying to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 1993-94. ... Hart replaced Jason Kapono in Charlotte's starting lineup, but Bickerstaff said he asked Kapono's permission before making the switch. ... Bobcats guard Brevin Knight injured his left wrist late in the game. ... Seen courtside, injured Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who was "Hanging with Mr. Cooper," comedian Mark Curry.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 100 111
    FGM-FGA 32-88 (.364) 40-88 (.455)
    3PM-3PA 4-16 (.250) 3-4 (.750)
    FTM-FTA 32-38 (.842) 28-43 (.651)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 20-47 13-49
    Assists 13 23
    Turnovers 18 14
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 6 6
    Fast Break Points 6 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 36 (1/0) 29 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Cuttino Mobley Mobley
    Points: 23
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Primoz Brezec Brezec
    Points: 20
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0