Published March 31, 2010
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Gerald Wallace had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Tyson Chandler added a season-high 15 points, and the Charlotte Bobcats moved a step closer to their first playoff berth with a 103-84 victory over the undermanned Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Bouncing back from a home loss two nights earlier to Toronto, the Bobcats forced 25 turnovers, took 24 more free throws than the 76ers and dominated the second half to move four games ahead of ninth-place Chicago in the Eastern Conference with eight games left. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
Andre Iguodala scored 14 points amid foul trouble for the Sixers, who dressed only nine players in their second straight loss and 49th of the season. Elton Brand was held to eight points on 4 of 13 shooting.
Charlotte, meanwhile, got a strong game from Chandler inside — and it's been a long time coming. Slowed for much of the season with foot and ankle problems, the player acquired from New Orleans for Emeka Okafor in the offseason had failed to provide the expected life and versatility inside.
But Chandler has said in the past few weeks he's finally healthy, and he was nearly perfect against the Sixers.
Chandler was 4 of 5 from the field and 7 of 8 from the line while grabbing six rebounds. That made up for Stephen Jackson's off night (16 points, 7 of 19 shooting) as the Bobcats improved to 28-9 at home.
After beating likely playoff teams Milwaukee and Atlanta, the Sixers have returned to their struggling ways with consecutive blowout losses to Oklahoma City and Charlotte.
To make matters worse, coach Eddie Jordan said before the game he'll have to limit Iguodala's minutes because of the lingering plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Foul trouble made it easy to sit him. Iguodala picked up his fourth foul with 6:47 left in the third quarter. Before the period was over, Brand had five fouls and Samuel Dalembert four, helping Charlotte take control with a collection of dunks and free throws.
Wallace had a one-handed alley-oop jam on a feed from Raymond Felton, then a layup on a behind-the-head pass from Boris Diaw as the Bobcats took a 77-59 lead.
After the Bobcats were upset with several calls down the stretch of Monday's loss to Toronto, new owner Michael Jordan took little time to target the referees from his seat next to the Charlotte bench. He yelled after an out of bounds call went Philadelphia's way, and the call was overturned by the trail official.
Jordan was in a much better mood when he rocked back in his chair in laughter during a conversation with referee Leon Wood before the start of the second quarter. The Jordan on the other bench, however, was steamed with a 16-3 free-throw discrepancy as the Bobcats built a 16-point first-half lead.
But Philadelphia's inability to hold onto the ball played a big role, too. Rookie Jrue Holiday had seven turnovers and Brand four.
NOTES: Bobcats coach Larry Brown praised Eddie Jordan for how the Sixers have played hard after being eliminated from playoff contention. Asked if a coaching change would set the franchise back — Jordan's future is uncertain — Brown replied, "I don't think they ever help." Brown finished his thought by taking a shot at himself. "After watching us play the last game you might be thinking we should make a coaching change," he said. ... Bobcats F Tyrus Thomas (ankle) dressed but missed his second straight game. ... Sixers F Marreese Speights picked up third-quarter technical foul.