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 Bell, Okafor lead Bobcats past Grizzlies 101-86

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PostSubject: Bell, Okafor lead Bobcats past Grizzlies 101-86   Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:11 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C.(AP) Larry Brown repeats his
demands of constant ball movement, high-percentage shots and tough
defense so often that it becomes a running joke anywhere the vagabond
Hall of Fame coach goes.Raja Bell gave Brown the game he craves
Wednesday night, helping the Charlotte Bobcats continue their
impressive turnaround from an ugly start in Brown's first season in
charge.Bell scored 25 points, but perhaps more importantly
pestered Memphis' O.J. Mayo all game, limiting him to 13 points in the
Bobcats' 101-86 victory over the Grizzlies.Charlotte has won
four of five and 10 of 17 overall, which coincides with the trade with
Phoenix that put Bell and Boris Diaw under Brown's watch.Brown, who talks constantly about "playing the right way,'' saw Bell do just that in his second straight game scoring 25 points."Raja had an unbelievable all-around game,'' Brown said.Bell
and Diaw, who added eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists,
were used to winning in Phoenix and they've brought that attitude to
the Bobcats, who have never won more than 33 games in their first four
years.While the second half of the season is littered with road
games, the Bobcats have put themselves into playoff contention in the
Eastern Conference."Once you get the taste for that, you get
selfish. You want to win every game,'' Bell said. "That's how you get
that snowball effect.''There were other contributors that helped send the Grizzlies to their seventh straight loss despite 26 points from Rudy Gay.Emeka
Okafor had 20 points and 15 rebounds - proving the Bobcats are getting
the ball inside. Raymond Felton scored 19 and Gerald Wallace had 13
points, nine rebounds and four steals, helping harass the Grizzlies
into 21 turnovers."We rebounded well and shared the ball,'' Brown said. "We did a good job on their key guys.''The Grizzlies had many areas to point to as they lost for the 15th time in 17 games and fell to 2-16 on the road.Memphis,
which stuck around until late in the fourth quarter, was outrebounded
44-28 and allowed Charlotte to shoot 50 percent. And while Gay hit 10
of 15 shots after averaging 10 points on 13-of-39 shooting in the past
three games, he committed seven turnovers."I know personally I turned the ball over a couple of useless times,'' Gay said. "We just have to play more solid.''Mayo,
the No. 3 overall pick, had a rough night, too. Memphis' top scorer
made just five of 11 shots and had trouble getting into the offensive
flow with Bell shadowing him."O.J.'s learning what it's about in
this league,'' Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said. "There are guys,
their job is just to lock people down. ... Raja's a great defender.
We'll learn from it.''The Grizzlies rallied from a 10-point
first-quarter deficit to take a 52-51 lead on Gay's jumper early in the
third quarter and Charlotte led only 70-66 early in the fourth.But the poor passes, failed alley-oops and Charlotte's second-chance points eventually doomed Memphis.Wallace's
steal and dunk on Hakim Warrick's turnover put Charlotte ahead 88-79
with 4:11 left. Felton's two free throws less than a minute later put
it away."We're just starting to get our confidence,'' said
Okafor, who got his 22nd double-double of the season. "Come the end of
the game, we know that we're supposed to win these.''Yes, with their demanding coach and their new-look roster, things feel much different around the Bobcats."You get some fresh blood in the locker room,'' Bell said, "and all of a sudden the dynamics change.''

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