The rookie forward will try to help the Bobcats win back-to-back games for the first time in 2006-07 when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Morrison is Charlotte’s second-leading scorer with 16.0 points per game, but has surpassed 20 points in three of his last four contests. His 22 points led the Bobcats (4-10) Tuesday as they beat the New Jersey Nets 96-92 to open a three-game road trip.
Morrison is also taking good care of the ball, as he has just one turnover in three of the last four games while dishing out five assists in each of the last two. Second-year reserve forward Sean May scored a career-high 20 points Tuesday to help the Charlotte bench outscore New Jersey’s reserves 36-7.
“I tried to be more physical,” said May, who added seven rebounds and five assists. “The last two games I was out there thinking too much. I wanted to be aggressive and tonight it worked out for us.”
That performance proved key as Charlotte leading scorer Emeka Okafor struggled with fouls and was held to a season-low six points. Okafor has scored in single digits the last two games and will try to avoid being held below 10 for three straight for the first time since the beginning of his 2004-05 rookie season.
Primoz Brezec, who has battled exhaustion and dehydration, scored 13 points in just his third game of the season Tuesday while Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton added 12 apiece. Felton will look for an even better showing versus the Hawks (5-7), who he is averaging 21.8 points against in four career games, his best mark versus any opponent.
Felton may get some more help in the backcourt after the Bobcats signed veteran Derek Anderson on Tuesday, a day after waiving guard Alan Anderson. Derek Anderson, who dressed Tuesday but didn’t play, averaged 8.1 points with Houston and Miami last season and can play either shooting guard or small forward.
“That versatility was definitely a factor so he can spell the guys at the point and also do some scoring,” Bobcats coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff said. “He can take some pressure off our young wings.”
After going 4-1 to start the season, the Hawks have lost six of their last seven, including Tuesday’s 96-95 loss to the Washington Wizards.
“We got the right shot,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “After watching the tape, Salim (Stoudamire) broke open and when Joe came over across the top with the live dribble, he took it upon himself to take the shot. Joe’s made big shots before and I can live with that.”
Johnson finished with a team-high 33 points along with eight assists and six rebounds, while reserve guard Tyronn Lue scored 18.
Johnson has scored 35 points in each of his last two matchups with the Bobcats, but it hasn’t translated into wins for Atlanta. Charlotte took three of four meetings between the Southeast Division rivals last season and leads the all-time series 6-2.