Bobcats 89, 76ers 83
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)—Members of the Charlotte Bobcats were falling over each other to be the goat.
There was the team employee who turned in the wrong roster, leading to backup point guard Jeff McInnis’ first-quarter ejection. Then Adam Morrison and assistant coach John-Blair Bickerstaff picked up crucial technical fouls late in the fourth quarter.
Yet, it was Philadelphia that was more inept down the stretch, as Morrison scored 17 points and the Bobcats overcame their blunders to beat the 76ers 89-83 on Saturday in a game that lived up to its billing matching the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
“I’ve never seen an uglier win,” Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “But when they write it down they say ‘W.”’ They don’t put a ‘U’ by it.”
Derek Anderson added 15 points and Raymond Felton had 14 points and nine assists for the Bobcats, who won their season-high third straight game despite losing McInnis late in the first quarter thanks to a bizarre scoring mistake. The team turned in the wrong official roster before the game that did not include the newly acquired McInnis as an active player.
The Bobcats also blew a 17-point lead along with their cool. With the Bobcats clinging to a 79-76 lead, Morrison, upset over a traveling violation seconds earlier, was called for a technical foul. Official Kevin Fehr then immediately hit Bickerstaff’s son John-Blair with another technical.
“I put my team in a bad situation,” Morrison said. “I can’t argue there. Luckily we pulled it out.”
Charlotte responded with a 6-0 run and Felton’s baseline jumper with 1:09 left gave Charlotte an 85-80 lead.
Willie Green scored 19 points and Korver added 15 points for the 76ers, who faltered down the stretch to lose for the fifth time in six games. The Sixers committed consecutive turnovers and missed three straight free throws in the final two minutes.
“We just didn’t execute. We missed some shots and we missed some free throws,” Korver said. “We had the momentum. We just didn’t finish it right.”
McInnis entered the game with 3:15 left in the first quarter and the 76ers called attention to the error eight seconds later when a foul was called. McInnis, a Charlotte native playing in his first game in his hometown since the trade, was ejected and the Bobcats were called for a technical.
“McInnis had a hell of a game,” Bickerstaff joked. “The bottom line is we blew it. There’s a (paper) that has to be turned in an hour before the game, an active list and an inactive list. His name was on neither.”
Bickerstaff refused to identify who turned in the incorrect roster and who signed off on it. But the mistake left Felton as Charlotte’s only true point guard, as Brevin Knight missed his 12th game with a torn abdominal muscle.
“It’s not like the summer league when you can just throw a guy onto the team and play, huh?” Anderson said.
Charlotte wasn’t fazed initially, immediately going on a 9-4 run to close the quarter. Morrison’s buzzer-beating 35-foot bank shot gave the Bobcats a 23-14 lead.
Charlotte built the lead to 17 in the second quarter with Anderson picking up the slack at point guard. The Sixers slowly cut into the lead, cutting the deficit to 67-62 entering the fourth quarter.
Anderson was 4-of-7 on 3-pointers and his 3 early in the fourth quarter put Charlotte ahead 72-64.
“We battled back, but we missed making key plays down the stretch,” Green said. “Our Achilles’ heel right now is those slow starts. It’s hard to battle back the whole game and have enough gas to win it.”
Dick Bavetta, in his 32nd season as an NBA official, said the only other incident he recalled that resembled McInnis’ ejection was when a team turned in two different rosters. That error was corrected before the game. … Bobcats F Gerald Wallace missed his fifth straight game since suffering a separated right shoulder, but took part in his entire pregame shooting routine and said he’s confident he’ll return soon. … Bobcats F Melvin Ely missed his third straight game with a strained right calf.