Charlotte’s first loss of the season may prove to be a costly one, at least for the near future.
Felton left Tuesdays’ 115-83 loss to Phoenix with a left knee injury. Initial X-rays were negative, and an MRI revealed no ligament damage to the knee.
Still, Felton will be a game-time decision against Philadelphia.
“He felt some sort of, I don’t know if he said a pop or a twinge,” first-year coach Sam Vincent said.
Felton averaged 22.5 points and 9.5 assists in Charlotte’s first two games, wins over Milwaukee and Miami, and had 12 points before suffering the injury late in the third quarter.
He became Charlotte’s primary point guard after the team bought out Brevin Knight’s contract in the offseason, and is a crucial piece of the team’s up-tempo offense. The Bobcats were counting on him to improve on his 38.7 percent shooting in his first two seasons in the NBA, and he is shooting 44.7 percent through the first three games.
“He’s the main guy that runs the offense. He’s the guy that gets all of us going,” forward Gerald Wallace said of Felton. “He’s the one guy, of any guy on this team, that we can’t afford to lose. … We can’t even afford to have him banged up. That’s how important he is to this team.”
The Bobcats were 2-0 for the first time in their four-year history before running into the Suns. Rookie Jared Dudley had 16 points and 11 rebounds in his first extended playing time after managing just four points and three rebounds in his first two games, and Wallace chipped in 12 points.
Jason Richardson, acquired in a draft-day trade to become Charlotte’s go-to scorer, was held to 11 points after totaling 50 in his first two games.
“That Phoenix team is a tough team. They play well together,” Vincent said. “They just kind of overmatched us tonight.”
Charlotte is 5-6 all-time against the 76ers, but just 1-5 in Philadelphia. The Bobcats posted their lone road win in the series on Nov. 4, 2005.
The home team won all four games last season in a split of the series.
The 76ers (1-2) are coming off Saturday’s 93-88 loss to the New Jersey Nets in their home opener. Andre Iguodala, who leads Philadelphia with 20.3 points per game, had a team-high 16 points, and Kyle Korver added 11 and 11 rebounds off the bench.
However, the Sixers made just 21 of their 32 free throw attempts and are hitting just 67.4 percent (60-of-89) of their free throws.
“When you’re down and you’re trying to make a comeback and you get fouled, you’ve got to be able to convert all your foul shots,” coach Maurice Cheeks said. “You’ve got to do everything right and we were on our heels pretty much the whole night.”
The Sixers, who opened a four-game homestand, play 14 of their first 23 games at home after starting last season with 22 of 33 on the road.