Rookies Help Charlotte, New Orleans Win

Thursday, November 16th 2006, 6:23 am

By: News On 6

The Charlotte Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets were able to get key road victories thanks to a pair of rookies.

Charlotte's Adam Morrison scored 27 points, topping his career high from one night earlier, to help the Bobcats beat the San Antonio Spurs for the first time in franchise history, 95-92 in overtime Wednesday night.

``The coaches were telling me I was putting too much pressure on myself,'' Morrison said. ``Everyone was expecting so much out of me, especially at the pick I went (third overall).''

Hilton Armstrong finally got a chance to play for the Hornets and made the most of it. The rookie from Connecticut made a tiebreaking free throw with 3 seconds left, then got a key offensive rebound to help the Hornets beat the Pistons 100-99.

``Before I went to the line, I tied my shoe _ I didn't need to, but it gave me a second to calm down and relax,'' said Armstrong, who came into the game with zero career points in 6 minutes. ``I was pretty excited. On the second one, I didn't want to grab it and get a foul, so I just tipped it.''

In other NBA games, it was: New Jersey 100, Milwaukee 87; New York 102, Washington 82; Cleveland 100, Portland 87; Orlando 108, Denver 99; Boston 114, Indiana 88; Sacramento 115, Memphis 111; and Philadelphia 96, Seattle 90.

Chris Paul had 20 points and 13 assists for New Orleans, while Armstrong finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in his first start.

``That kid got a chance to play tonight and he made a statement,'' Tayshaun Prince said. ``That keeps happening to us _ young guys come in all fired up and play great against us.''

Emeka Okafor scored 19 points for Charlotte (2-6), which had lost four straight. The Bobcats had also lost their first four meetings against the Spurs.

Tony Parker scored 25 points and Tim Duncan added 24 and 13 rebounds for San Antonio (6-2), which had won five straight.

Nets 100, Bucks 87

Jason Kidd had a season-high 25 points, 11 asists and eight rebounds to lead host New Jersey.

Kidd scored 11 straight points for the Nets in a 21-3 first-quarter spurt that gave them the lead for good. Vince Carter, who battled flu-like symptoms all day and was a game-time decision to start, finished with 15 points, none in the fourth quarter. Nenad Krstic added 22 points.

Mo Williams had a season-high 26 points and Michael Redd added 25 for Milwaukee.

Knicks 102, Wizards 82

Rookie Renaldo Balkman scored a season-high 18 points, and New York used its best defensive performance of the season to beat Washington.

Quentin Richardson made five 3-pointers and added 17 points and Stephon Marbury scored 16 for the Knicks, who won for the first time at home this season and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Cavaliers 100, Trail Blazers 87

LeBron James had 32 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to help host Cleveland win its fourth straight. Drew Gooden scored 17 points and Eric Snow added a season-high 13.

Zach Randolph led Portland with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

Magic 108, Nuggets 99

Keyon Dooling scored 25 points, keying a big third-quarter run to lift host Orlando.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, his fifth straight game with at least 30, for Denver. However, he committed two costly mistakes in the final 2:15, first traveling, then bobbling a pass that forced a jump ball tipped to Dooling for a lay-up and 104-97 lead with 1:03 left.

Celtics 114, Pacers 88

At Boston, Paul Pierce scored 32 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 20 to help the Celtics win for just the second time in eight games. Ryan Gomes had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Kendrick Perkins added 12 points and eight rebounds.

Al Harrington scored 23 points and Marquis Daniels added 15 for Indiana.

Kings 115, Grizzlies 111

Mike Bibby had 32 points and 10 assists to lead host Sacramento to its fourth straight victory. Kevin Martin added 24 points, including a few big baskets down the stretch.

Trailing 98-89, the Grizzlies scored 10 straight points to take a one-point lead. Martin answered with a 3-pointer putting the Kings ahead for good with 4:49 left. He made another big 3-pointer with just over a minute left, and sealed the victory with two free throws.

Chucky Atkins scored 27 points to lead Memphis, which has lost five straight.

76ers 96, SuperSonics 90

Allen Iverson scored 12 of his 28 points in the third quarter, and visiting Philadelphia snapped a three-game skid.

Iverson made just 6 of 22 shots, but was nearly perfect at the free-throw line, hitting 14 of 16 attempts. Andre Iguodala just missed a triple-double with 12 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

Rashard Lewis led Seattle with 25 points and 15 rebounds.

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