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Okafor, Knight lead Bobcats past Sixers in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Brevin Knight's enthusiasm over a victory
heading into Charlotte's home opener was tempered a bit because of
the realization of how close the Bobcats came to winning their
first two games on the road.

"We expect to finish games when we have leads and we believe in
ourselves that we can win games," Knight said.

Yes, the goals are a little loftier this season for the
second-year franchise. Turns out the only thing lowly with the
Bobcats on Friday night was the team they played.

Emeka Okafor had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Knight added 14
points and 15 assists to lead the Bobcats over the winless
Philadelphia 76ers 110-93.

Kareem Rush scored 14 points and Primoz Brezec had 11 for the
Bobcats, who dominated the boards, converted turnovers into points
and used a deeper bench to send the Sixers to their second home
loss this week.

Allen Iverson led the Sixers (0-3) with 29 points, Chris Webber
added 20 and Steven Hunter had 16. While Iverson and Webber have
answered the question about their ability to play together, the
next one may be, can they get anyone else involved?

"We're playing a little tentative, playing not to make
mistakes," Iverson said.

The Bobcats -- 18-64 in their inaugural season -- took a 12-point
lead in the second quarter and were never really challenged after
that.

The Bobcats (1-1) led by 25 points in the third quarter of their
opener against Chicago and were ahead 89-68 going into the fourth
only to see it disappear. This time, they built on their 13-point
lead through three, with a dunk by Okafor and a tough jumper from
Jumaine Jones pushing the lead to 16.

"There was some fatigue in Chicago and it doesn't have to be
that way with this basketball team," coach Bernie Bickerstaff
said.

When Matt Carroll made a 22-footer for a 92-75 lead, Knight
raised his hands like he was raising the roof and the Bobcats were
all smiles as they ran off the court on a Sixers timeout.

The fans started leaving after that, though there probably
weren't many more than 10,000 at the start.

The Bobcats head home to open their downtown arena against
Boston on Saturday night.

"Now we go home, have people behind us and try and continue
this," Knight said.

Philadelphia blew a seven-point lead in the final minutes of
regulation in an overtime loss to Milwaukee, then were blown out
the next night at Detroit. It won't get any easier with a game
Saturday at Indiana.

"When it comes, it's going to come like a storm, I hope,"
Webber said.

With Sean May and Raymond Felton coming from national champion
North Carolina, and Okafor also with an NCAA championship, the
young and spirited Bobcats have infused the organization with a
winning attitude.

When Knight sank a 16-footer from the right side midway through
the third, he was knocked down on a foul by Kyle Korver. Knight
made the free throw for a 16-point lead and the slumping Korver
left to boos.

"They depend on me to get us into our offense, kind of be the
stabilizer on the court," Knight said. "I think everybody feels
comfortable when I have the ball in my hands and I'm going to make
the right play."

After setting the team 3-point mark last season, Korver has been
an early bust. He scored eight points in the first two games and
went 0-for-5 without a point against Charlotte.

"I can't buy a break," Korver said.

The Sixers -- who were outrebounded 48-38 -- had their thin bench
exposed in the second half. When the Bobcats used an all-sub lineup
in the final minutes of the third, May knocked down a string of
baskets and kept the healthy lead. He finished with 11 points.

With Korver and Andre Iguodala on the bench to start the fourth
with four fouls each, and Hunter out with three, their lineup was
Iverson, John Salmons, Kevin Ollie, Lee Nailon and James Thomas.

Iverson finished with 24 attempts and Webber had 17. The
All-Star duo have little trouble finding each other. It's their
teammates who are getting left out. Hunter was the exception, going
7-for-8 in place of injured starting center Samuel Dalembert.

Game notes
Known for his high-flying dunks, Iguodala instead tried a
layup on an uncontested fastbreak and missed early in the first
quarter. ... Webber went over the 15,000 point mark. He is one of
six active players with that many. Iverson is one of them. ... The
Sixers won all three games against Charlotte last season.