Bobcats play without Okafor for second straight game

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Sebastian Telfair is making the transition
from high school to the NBA look easy.

The rookie guard scored a season-high 23 points Friday night,
leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 101-89 victory over the
expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

"I think he's very special," Portland guard Nick Van Exel
said. "Especially that age, playing that position to come out of
high school is unbelievable. It's going to be unbelievable to watch
him mature."

Damon Stoudamire also had 23 points, and Ruben Patterson added
21 points for Portland in the Blazers' second straight victory
since Darius Miles returned from a two-game suspension. Miles,
suspended last week after using racial slurs in a tirade against
coach Maurice Cheeks in a film session, had 10 points in 27

Telfair entered the game in the first quarter to replace an
ineffective Van Exel and stayed in for 24 minutes, playing mostly
in tandem with Stoudamire.

"Sebastian is fearless out there," Cheeks said. "And he just
goes out and makes plays, sometimes oblivious to the fourth-quarter
situation. Like all the great players do, he treats the fourth
quarter like it was the first quarter."

Telfair upset some of the Bobcats when he made a 3-pointer in
the final seconds.

"Apparently the ref told him to take the shot, but that's just
a rookie mistake," Cheeks said. "You just don't take that shot."

Primoz Brezec had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Bobcats, who
scored a season-high 109 points to beat Utah on Wednesday night for
their 10th victory of the season.

Rookie star Emeka Okafor, the Bobcats' leader in rebounds and
scoring, sat for the second game with an ankle injury. He was
placed on the injured list Tuesday.

Melvin Ely had 16 points and 11 rebounds starting in Okafor's
place, and point guard Brevin Knight added 11 assists.

"The game was there," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.
"We just couldn't take it."

Steve Smith hit a 3-pointer, getting Charlotte within four
points with 4:23 remaining, but Telfair and Stoudamire combined for
eight points during a 9-2 run that put the game away.

"Good players do good things down the stretch," Ely said of
Telfair "He hit some good shots down there. If it wasn't for that,
we'd have been right in it."

Game notes
Charlotte is 2-20 on the road this season ... Portland
guard Derek Anderson had a third root canal Friday. He has missed
five games.