Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Wednesday, November 2nd
Game 2: Tuesday, December 20th
Game 3: Wednesday, December 28th
Game 4: Friday, March 31st

Bulls 80

(12-16, 7-9 away)

Bobcats 93

(10-19, 6-8 home)

    Coverage: CSNC

    7:30 PM ET, December 28, 2005

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 21 24 18 1780
    CHA 22 23 20 2893

    Top Performers

    Chicago: L. Deng 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Charlotte: M. Ely 20 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk

    Undermanned Bobcats beat Bulls for fifth win in seven

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- With four of their top seven scorers out injured, it was fitting a guy playing at less than full strength bailed out the Charlotte Bobcats.

    Melvin Ely scored 20 points and Primoz Brezec added 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead the undermanned Bobcats over the Chicago Bulls 93-80 Wednesday night.

    Ely, still recovering from a bout with the flu that forced him to miss four games earlier this month, added eight rebounds as Charlotte won for the fifth time in seven games.

    "The flu brought me down and I'm still recovering from that," Ely said. "Today was my first day feeling 85 percent. I'm just trying to get back in basketball shape."

    The Bobcats forced 25 turnovers and outrebounded the Bulls 50-38 despite finishing with only 10 healthy bodies. They lost starting guard Brevin Knight to a sprained left ankle in the second quarter. Knight, who scored 22 points in Tuesday's win at Atlanta, did not return.

    The Bobcats were already without Emeka Okafor (ankle), Kareem Rush (finger), Sean May (knee) and Jake Voskuhl (ankle).

    "We know guys are banged up and hurt, and then Brevin goes down," forward Gerald Wallace said. "When that happens, other guys have to step up and make a play. Right now everybody is stepping up to the challenge."

    Luol Deng scored 18 points and Darius Songaila added 12 for the Bulls, who lost their fifth straight, their longest skid since starting 0-9 last season.

    "Charlotte just played harder than we did. The Bobcats outhustled us," Deng said.

    Despite their lack of size, the Bobcats rallied from an eight-point third-quarter deficit thanks in part to their 21 offensive rebounds. Ely, who was two points shy of a career high, and Kevin Burleson had back-to-back follow shots in the final minute to put Charlotte ahead 65-63.

    Chicago missed its first three shots and committed four turnovers to start the fourth quarter as Charlotte extended its lead to 71-63 on Ely's basket with 9:44 left that capped a 12-0 run.

    Wallace's steal and layup with 6:24 left put the Bobcats ahead 79-65.

    "We gave them 29 points off our turnovers, 27 second-chance points and 25 free throws," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "When they made a run at us and pressured us, we didn't have much poise."

    Chicago, 1-2 against Charlotte this season, went on a 12-3 run at the beginning of the third quarter to break a halftime tie. Andres Nocioni's jumper with 7:34 left gave the Bulls a 57-48 lead.

    But Chicago, which forced 21 turnovers and held Charlotte to 37 percent shooting, couldn't hold onto the lead as it got another subpar performance from Ben Gordon, who had nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.

    "We had good ball movement and we were shooting the ball and all of a sudden each guy got a little bit greedy," Skiles said. "I'm concerned by some of the things I see going on, during practices, shootaround, and during the game. I'm concerned about our overall team attitude right now." ^Notes@: Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said Rush is close to coming back from his sprained right index finger, but he wants him to go through a practice first. ... Skiles said he thought about having little-used rookie Eddie Basden active for the game in his return to Charlotte, where he starred for the 49ers. "Until he missed the first bus and came on the second bus, then the thought was over," Skiles said. Reserve players are expected to arrive early for extra work. ... North Carolina State football coach Chuck Amato sat courtside next to South Florida coach Jim Leavitt. The teams play Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 80 93
    FGM-FGA 35-76 (.461) 33-88 (.375)
    3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 2-12 (.167)
    FTM-FTA 6-16 (.375) 25-31 (.806)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-38 21-50
    Assists 21 11
    Turnovers 25 21
    Steals 6 12
    Blocks 11 5
    Fast Break Points 12 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 32 (1/0) 18 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 9 14

    Top Performers

    Luol Deng Deng
    Points: 18
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Melvin Ely Ely
    Points: 20
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2