NBA Game Summary - Charlotte at Houston
(Wednesday, December 22nd)
Final Score: Charlotte 90, Houston 87
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Emeka Okafor scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Charlotte Bobcats past the Houston Rockets, 90-87, at the Toyota Center.
Jason Kapono netted 16 points for the Bobcats, who notched their first road win in franchise history after 10 defeats to start the season. Primoz Brezec and Jason Hart each added 14 points for Charlotte.
"It's nice to have my first road win in the city I grew up in," said Okafor. "This one was coming and it was just a matter of time."
Tracy McGrady collected 25 points, nine boards, six assists and five steals for the Rockets, who also lost to the expansion Bobcats on Saturday.
Yao Ming finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds for Houston. However, he turned the ball over 10 times. Bob Sura had 17 points and Jim Jackson added 15 in the loss.
Charlotte was clinging to a three-point advantage early in the fourth quarter before going on an 8-0 spurt, ignited by Brevin Knight's three-point play, to increase the margin to 11 at 76-65 with just over eight minutes left.
The Rockets still trailed by 11 several minutes later, but made a late run. McGrady's runner in the lane with 56 seconds remaining cut the deficit to 85-82.
However, Brezec nailed a jumper on the next possession to push the lead back to five.
Jackson then drilled a three-pointer with 18.1 seconds left to make it 87-85. The shot came after Brezec made an errant pass after grabbing the rebound of a missed shot by Sura.
Hart was then fouled and sank 1-of-2 free throws to give Charlotte a three- point advantage with 14.6 seconds left.
On Houston's next possession, McGrady drove inside, but made a bad pass to Yao underneath for a turnover with 8.5 seconds remaining. The Bobcats then fired a long inbounds pass to Brezec, who slammed the ball home to seal it.
"When you talk about character tests, this was one," said Charlotte head coach Bernie Bickerstaff. "And when you talk about gorillas, that's exactly what this win was on the road. It was a good feather (in our cap) because we beat a good team on the road."
Charlotte took control early, scoring 10 of the first 13 points of the game. Houston then countered with a 12-2 burst, capped by McGrady's layup, to move in front 15-12.
The Rockets stretched the advantage to nine in the final minute of the period and led 23-16 after 12 minutes.
The Bobcats trailed by six points at the intermission, but outscored Houston 28-18 in the third quarter to grab a 66-62 advantage after 36 minutes. Charlotte closed the period with a 9-3 run, keyed by five points from Kapono. The Rockets were only 8-of-22 from the field in the third stanza.
Prior to the game, the Rockets activated guard Charlie Ward and forward Bostjan Nachbar from the injured list and placed forward Ryan Bowen and guard Andre Barrett on the IL...Ward played six minutes, while Nachbar played three...Knight finished with nine points and 13 assists...Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace (wrist) left the game.
12/23 00:42:22 ET