Regular Season Series (Game 3 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 102

(39-31, 17-18 away)

Bobcats 99

(15-55, 12-24 home)

Coverage: CSNC

7:00 PM ET, March 30, 2005

Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 23 24 22 33102
CHA 25 22 28 2499

Top Performers

Chi: B. Gordon 35 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

Cha: G. Wallace 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Gordon scores career-high 35

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Ben Gordon showed Emeka Okafor why the Rookie of the Year award is still up for grabs.

Gordon scored 22 of his career-high 35 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday night to lead the Chicago Bulls to their seventh straight win, 102-99 over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Gordon drained a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 42.8 seconds left, then gave Chicago a 101-97 lead on another 3 with 21.7 seconds left.

"I was just feeling it," said Gordon, who scored the Bulls' final 16 points. "I was getting good looks, I was freeing myself up, and all I needed was a split second."

Othella Harrington added 16 points and eight rebounds and Jannero Pargo also scored 16 for the Bulls, who won their seventh straight game despite being without their top two scorers. Eddy Curry was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms, while Kirk Hinrich missed his fifth straight game with a strained left hamstring.

The Bulls, who came into the game leading the NBA with 39.2 bench points per game, rode the 8-of-12 fourth-quarter shooting of Gordon, who's also a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

"I thought they outplayed us most of the game, but Ben just got hot down the stretch," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "He's a very, very good shooter. There are very few guys who can shoot like him and that are not afraid to take big shots."

Gerald Wallace scored 23 points, while Okafor and Primoz Brezec each had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats.

Okafor has been considered by many to be the front runner for the rookie award, but now may be overtaken by his former college teammate at Connecticut.

"When Ben gets in a zone, he just turns it on," Okafor said. "I was with him for three years, so I've seen everything."

Charlotte point guard Brevin Knight and Chicago forward Tyson Chandler were ejected after getting tangled up going for a loose ball with 5:22 left. Both began shoving each other, and Chandler cocked his arm but was restrained by teammates.

"He grabbed my leg when I ran to the ball," Chandler said. "I tried to kick him off my leg, get him off of me."

"It was just two guys getting a little heated," Knight said. "I don't know if it warranted an ejection."

The Bulls scored the next six points after the ejections to take a 91-86 lead on Gordon's 3-pointer. Charlotte, left with only Jason Hart to run the point with Knight gone, fought back to tie the game on Wallace's 3, then took the lead on Keith Bogans' drive with 2:12 left.

But in the end, the Bobcats couldn't stop Gordon.

"That was about as good a performance I have seen in a critical time in a basketball game for -- not only a rookie, but for anybody," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.

Game notes

Skiles said Hinrich remains day-to-day. "He felt like he was better today, but he's still not close," Skiles said. ... Bobcats reserve Theron Smith, who was placed on the injured list last week, had right knee surgery Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season. Bickerstaff said Smith should've informed the team's medical staff about the injury sooner. "It's OK to be tough, but he didn't make a good decision. I told him we're upset with him," Bickerstaff said.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 102 99
FGM-FGA 38-84 (.452) 36-85 (.424)
3PM-3PA 12-19 (.632) 5-11 (.455)
FTM-FTA 14-17 (.824) 22-24 (.917)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-52 14-41
Assists 25 27
Turnovers 20 12
Steals 6 13
Blocks 6 8
Fast Break Points 15 25
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/1) 20 (3/0)
Largest Lead 5 9

Top Performers

Ben Gordon Gordon
Points: 35
Reb: 3
Ast: 5
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Gerald Wallace Wallace
Points: 23
Reb: 4
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 0