Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/27

Game 1: Thursday, January 27th
Game 2: Saturday, February 26th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 30th
Game 4: Saturday, April 2nd

Bulls 94

(29-24, 11-14 away)

Bobcats 90

(11-42, 9-18 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 26, 2005

    Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 26 25 25 1894
    CHA 27 29 16 1890

    Top Performers

    Chi: A. Davis 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk

    Cha: E. Okafor 26 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Okafor's 26 points not enough for Charlotte

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- All through college, Emeka Okafor stole Ben Gordon's snacks. So when Okafor stole the ball from him late in Saturday night's game, Gordon was finally fed up.

    Gordon dusted himself off after Okafor knocked him down on a steal, then rebounded to sink a 3-pointer that sealed the Chicago Bulls' 94-90 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

    "I was just seeing black for a minute, that's why I had to hit him with that dagger -- take that!" Gordon said. "I don't know why he would be complaining. I had all the snacks. He was eating all my stuff, I was feeding the guy and see the thanks I get?"

    Best friends and roommates at Connecticut, where the two led the Huskies to the national title last season, Okafor and Gordon were the Nos. 2 and 3 picks in the NBA draft.

    Now the two front-runners for Rookie of the Year, their one physical exchange late in the game had both of them sharing roommate secrets afterward.

    When Gordon went up for a layup late in the fourth quarter, Okafor went over his head and plucked the ball out of Gordon's hands while knocking him to the ground.

    Okafor hustled down the court while Gordon picked himself up off the floor, trailing the play. After a Bobcats miss, Gordon calmly hit a 3 with 1:15 to play that gave Chicago a 93-88 lead and locked up the win.

    "He was at the rack and I think we were in the air and I snatched it away, no hard feelings, it was just part of the game," Okafor said.

    Then Okafor let it spill about the time he caught Gordon clipping his toenails over Okafor's refrigerator as if the knockdown was his payback.

    "We might as well be (married). All that time we spent together, it's like brothers, a sibling thing," Okafor said.

    Give Okafor the nod in individual statistics this time -- he finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds -- but Gordon got the win.

    Afterward, neither wanted to step up as the leader in the rookie race.

    "A statement is not made in one game," Okafor said.

    Antonio Davis led Chicago with 20 points, Eddy Curry had 16 and Othella Harrington scored 12. Gordon and Kirk Hinrich had 11 each.

    Kareem Rush scored 13 for Charlotte and Knight added 10 for the Bobcats, who were thin on bodies. Gerald Wallace (sprained right wrist) and Bernard Robinson (sprained left foot) did not dress, center Primoz Brezec was ill and Rush left with a sprained right knee in the fourth quarter.

    Okafor was also sick, fighting a bout of bronchitis that had coach Bernie Bickerstaff reluctant to start him. But he was on the floor at the opening tip and jumped out to a quick start by scoring eight of Charlotte's first 15 points.

    The Bobcats could have used the same effort from Brezec, who was initially on the bench in uniform, but went to the locker room at halftime and never came back out. Without him in the lineup, Curry had his way around the basket and converted a handful of rim-rattling dunks.

    So it fell to Okafor to carry Charlotte both offensively and defensively. He did both, ending the first half with 15 points and eight rebounds while helping Charlotte out to a 56-51 lead at the break.

    The Bobcats stretched their lead to 62-53 early in the third quarter, but the Bulls answered with a 16-2 run to pull ahead. Gordon scored a 3, then made a trio of free throws when he was fouled by Knight, and Knight was called for a technical for arguing.

    Gordon's third shot gave Chicago a 69-64 lead.

    Game notes

    Chicago coach Scott Skiles would not weigh in on the Rookie of the Year debate between Gordon and Okafor. "I like all my rookies," said Skiles, who has four on his roster. ... The Bobcats are eyeing three different point guards -- Derrick Zimmerman of Columbus's NBDL team, and Cory Alexander from the Roanoke franchise, as well as Jermaine Jackson of the CBA's Great Lakes Storm -- and hope to have one signed soon. ... Wallace was named a co-captain before the game, taking the place of Steve Smith, who was traded Thursday to Miami.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 90
    FGM-FGA 31-74 (.419) 33-82 (.402)
    3PM-3PA 7-15 (.467) 1-5 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 25-31 (.806) 23-32 (.719)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-46 13-42
    Assists 17 14
    Turnovers 17 10
    Steals 4 7
    Blocks 7 6
    Fast Break Points 7 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (3/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 6 9

    Top Performers

    Antonio Davis Davis
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Emeka Okafor Okafor
    Points: 26
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2