Final / 2OT

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/10

Game 1: Tuesday, January 10th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 25th

Rockets 106

(12-21, 9-11 away)

Bobcats 111

(11-23, 7-9 home)

    Coverage: NE14

    7:30 PM ET, January 10, 2006

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 OT 2OT T
    HOU 23 22 18 27 9 7106
    CHA 24 25 15 26 9 12111

    Top Performers

    Hou: J. Howard 28 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Cha: G. Wallace 26 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 4 Blk

    Charlotte gets win in 2OT, but loses Okafor again

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Things were looking good for the Charlotte Bobcats: Emeka Okafor returned after an eight-game absence and Brevin Knight's back was feeling better.

    Against an undermanned Houston Rockets team, it should have been an easy win.

    Instead, the Bobcats had to claw their way through two overtimes -- losing Okafor and Knight to more injuries along the way -- before finally pulling out a 111-106 win over Houston on Tuesday night.

    "Our guys just kept fighting, after one overtime, two overtimes," coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "They just kept fighting and found a way."

    Raymond Felton made a running jumper with 20 seconds to play in the second overtime, then hit a pair of free throws to seal the Bobcats' win.

    But Okafor, who had been sidelined with a sprained ankle, re-injured himself late in the second overtime when he stepped on someone's foot. He had to be helped from the court, his right shoe off, and was on crutches after the game.

    He won't travel to Wednesday night's game in Toronto, instead staying behind for an MRI.

    "I'm kind of worried," said Okafor, who had 21 points before he was hurt. "I'm not in too much pain, but I also can't really move it."

    Knight, the Bobcats' point guard, took himself out of the game late in the second overtime with a sore back. He needed treatment several times during the game, and was walking gingerly after.

    He will go to Toronto, but said his status is uncertain.

    "I'll push through as long as possible, get treatment and be there for my team," said Knight, who had 15 points and 18 assists.

    The Rockets were also thin, dressing only nine players. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady were back in Houston with injuries, and Juwan Howard and Rafer Alston both fouled out in second overtime.

    "We have an All-Star team on our bench, but the more we dwell on that, we lose focus on what the healthy guys have to do," Houston's David Wesley said.

    The game was tied at 104 with 2:03 to go until the Bobcats finally took control. Bernard Robinson made one of two free throws to give them the lead for good with 1:09 to play.

    Both teams had a series of misses until Felton, in because Knight was out, drove through the Houston defense to score. Luther Head missed a 3 at the other end, Gerald Wallace was fouled after grabbing the rebound, and made both his free throws to make it 109-104.

    Head scored at the other end with 7 seconds left, then the Rockets quickly fouled Felton. He went to the line and made both his shots to lock up the win.

    Wallace led Charlotte with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Primoz Brezec scored 20.

    Howard led Houston with 28 points. Wesley, the longtime former Charlotte Hornet, scored a season-high 26 and Alston had 20 points and 10 assists.

    The Rockets dropped to 0-9 this season with McGrady doesn't play.

    "These (other) guys are professional guys and they're all professional basketball players so we should expect to play well and play hard," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said.

    Houston was able to continue the game twice with dramatic baskets.

    John Lucas made a 3-pointer with 28 seconds to play in regulation to tie the game and ensure an extra period. Then, after Okafor made just one of two free throws to prevent Charlotte from putting the game away with 6 seconds to play in overtime, Head connected on a 3 with just 0.1 seconds left on the clock to send it into another overtime.

    Game notes

    The Bobcats have played in an NBA-high five overtime games this season. ... Bickerstaff tried to squash rumors that teams are trying to trade for Knight. "I haven't had any conversations with anyone, so expending vocal energy on that is of no significance," he said, adding that the second-year team is still too thin to deal away its starting point guard. ... The Rockets are counting on guard Head to step up while so many of his teammates are out with injuries. "This may be his best chance at carving out a career for himself in the NBA," Van Gundy said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 106 111
    FGM-FGA 38-88 (.432) 40-91 (.440)
    3PM-3PA 12-24 (.500) 2-11 (.182)
    FTM-FTA 18-19 (.947) 29-37 (.784)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-37 17-52
    Assists 23 28
    Turnovers 17 15
    Steals 8 11
    Blocks 4 9
    Fast Break Points 9 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 35 (1/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 12

    Top Performers

    Juwan Howard Howard
    Points: 28
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Gerald Wallace Wallace
    Points: 26
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 4