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Brezec's 26 points lead Bobcats past Kings in OT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Charlotte Bobcats' much-needed win
was a costly one.

Primoz Brezec scored five of his 26 points in overtime to help
the Bobcats to a 106-103 victory over the Sacramento Kings in a
Monday night game that saw Charlotte lose several players,
including Emeka Okafor, to injury.

Okafor appeared to seriously sprain his right ankle late in the
third quarter. After the game, he had a pair of steel crutches
laying near his feet in the locker room.

"It's the new Christmas craze," he quipped of his accessories.

Unsure of how serious the injury is, Okafor will skip Tuesday
night's game in Chicago to stay in Charlotte for further tests.
Staying behind with him will be guard Kareem Rush, who played just
seven minutes before leaving with a strained left index finger,
along with forward Melvin Ely (flu) and center Jake Voskuhl
(ankle).

The injuries to Okafor and Rush were nearly crippling to the
Bobcats, who were without starting guard Brevin Knight (arm injury)
and lost replacement Raymond Felton for much of the second quarter
when he tweaked his ankle.

"We had people falling out left and right," Okafor said.
"Winning the game was sort of a consolation to that."

So it was up to the remaining bodies to carry the Bobcats, who
were trying their best to shake off Saturday night's humiliating
110-92 home loss to Detroit.

"We had guys going down all over the place," said Brezec, who
fell just a point shy of his career high. "Somebody had to step
up."

It was Brezec in overtime, who helped the Bobcats build a
seven-point lead. But they nearly saw it vanish as they went
scoreless the final 2:25.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim hit a pair of free throws and made a basket
in the final minute to cut it to 106-103. But, after a Charlotte
turnover, Mike Bibby's 3-point attempt missed to end the game.

"They were the hungrier team tonight," said Abdur-Rahim, who
scored 32 points. "They played like they wanted to win and we
played like we were ready to go home."

The Kings closed their four-game road trip with their third
straight loss and eighth in their last 11 games.

"There are no excuses no matter how long a trip you're on,"
Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said.

Gerald Wallace finished with 15 points for Charlotte. Felton,
making his second start of the season in place of Knight, returned
from the early ankle sprain to contribute 14 points, nine assists
and a 19-foot jumper to open the overtime period.

"This is a big win that we needed, especially coming off that
pretty bad loss to Detroit," Felton said.

Keith Bogans had 13 points and Okafor had 12 points and 12
rebounds before he was hurt.

Bibby finished with 23 points and Kevin Martin came off the
bench to score a career-high 19.

Charlotte led by as many as eight in the second half, and was
clinging to a 99-95 late in the fourth quarter when the Bobcats
unraveled. Wallace was called for a shooting foul on Abdur-Rahim,
sending him to the line for two shots. He made both to cut it to
99-97 with 1:01 to play.

Wallace then missed at the other end, Bibby got the rebound and
converted it into a basket that tied the game with 35 seconds to
play. Charlotte came up empty again, with Bogans missing a 3 that
went straight to Sacramento. But Bibby played for a final shot, and
his 23-footer at the end of regulation rattled off the front of the
rim to send it into overtime.

But the Bobcats recovered in overtime by holding the Kings
scoreless on their first seven possessions to take control of the
game.

Game notes
The game marked a return of two former members of the
Bobcats' very first roster -- both Jason Hart and Jamal Sampson
played for Charlotte last season and are now with the Kings. Hart
played five minutes, but Sampson was in street clothes. ... Also
returning was center Brad Miller, who began his career as a member
of the Charlotte Hornets. ... Carolina Panthers receiver Steve
Smith, who suffered through an apparent bout of food poisoning in
Sunday's win over New Orleans, recovered enough to sit courtside
and received a rousing ovation from the crowd. Three seats down was
pop star and North Carolina native Clay Aiken, who defied a
security guard by signing an autograph for a little girl.