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Morrison comes off bench to lift Bobcats

New Jersey Nets' Eddie Gill, right, looks to pass as Charlotte Bobcats' Raymond Felton defends.
New Jersey Nets' Eddie Gill, right, looks to pass as Charlotte Bobcats' Raymond Felton defends.
Rick Havner, Associated Press

After a rocky rookie year and offseason moves that took him out of the starting lineup, Adam Morrison has embraced his new role with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Gerald Wallace scored 20 points and Morrison added 15 off the bench Monday night in the Bobcats' 96-86 home exhibition victory over the New Jersey Nets.

Morrison had nine points in the third quarter when Charlotte outscored the Nets 39-15. The No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft went 2-of-3 from 3-point range, hit all seven free throws and added two rebounds and an assist.

In four preseason games, Morrison is shooting 51 percent. He shot 38 percent as a rookie.

"Last year it was, 'Are you going to win rookie of the year? Are you going to do this? You need to score this,"' Morrison said. "This year I'm just trying to have fun and I'm having fun playing again. Last year it was fun at times and it wasn't fun at times."

Morrison's future seemed uncertain after the Bobcats acquired Jason Richardson from Golden State in a draft night trade. Morrison said new coach Sam Vincent has asked him to bring energy as a reserve.

"I just want to help the organization win and if that means coming off the bench, I understand this team has two great wings in Gerald and Jason," Morrison said. "I just need to come in, raise the intensity and do what I can do."

Matt Carroll added 15 points and rookie Jermareo Davidson scored 14 for the Bobcats, who rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit.

Bostjan Nachbar scored 19 points for New Jersey, while Vince Carter had 13 points in 22 minutes in his preseason debut. Richard Jefferson added 11 points in his first game.

"I was sucking wind," Jefferson said. "It was good to finally get out there and reading and reacting."

The Nets' biggest concern was their growing injury list.

Jason Kidd, who hurt his back in practice Sunday, and Darrell Armstrong, who injured his left foot in the shootaround Monday, did not play.

X-rays were negative for Armstrong and there is no timetable for his return. Coach Lawrence Frank said Kidd could be out for a few days.

"He had a back problem last year, so it's going to take some time," Frank said. "He's been to a chiropractor the past two days, so he's very stiff. Even if it was a regular season game, he couldn't play."

Antoine Wright, who sprained his left ankle in the Nets' win in Philadelphia Friday, also did not play. Nenad Krstic is still rehabbing his left knee and did not dress.

Davidson and Morrison keyed a 31-7 run that gave Charlotte a 10-point lead heading to the fourth quarter. The Nets got within four late, but no closer, with Wallace hitting four of five free throws late.

Carroll started in place of Richardson, who missed his second straight game to be with his fiancee, who gave birth to a boy earlier Monday. Rookie Jared Dudley (sprained toe) also sat out.

Center Primoz Brezec, who reported to the team late last week after missing the first two weeks of practice to deal with a family matter, was in street clothes. Vincent said Brezec could play in weekend exhibition games in Los Angeles.

Rookie Sean Williams had four points and five rebounds, including a thunderous putback dunk in his Nets' debut. But Williams also committed four fouls in 13 minutes. He was benched from New Jersey's opening exhibition game after showing up late for the shootaround.

Nachbar, who scored 35 points in the Nets' first game, was 4-of-14 from the field, but hit all 10 of his free throws.

"I still have high expectations for this team," Jefferson said. "We're still missing this guy, what's his name, J-Kid? He hasn't played a preseason game yet. We still have room to improve."

GRIZZLIES 101, TIMBERWOLVES 93: At Memphis, Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Gay both scored 22 points and the Memphis Grizzlies used a fourth-quarter rally to beat Minnesota.

Mike Miller added 14 points for the Grizzlies, while Darko Milicic finished with 10.

Al Jefferson and Marko Jaric both scored 17 points to lead Minnesota with Jefferson also grabbing 15 rebounds. Rashad McCants added 15 points and Ricky Davis had 14, all in the first half, for the Timberwolves.

Memphis went on a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to take a 98-86 lead. Gay had six points in the stretch, including an alley-oop dunk off a fastbreak that started with a Minnesota turnover.

The Timberwolves went more than 6 minutes without scoring until McCants' layup with 1:19 left.

Navarro keyed the fourth-quarter comeback with consecutive 3-pointers that tied the game at 81.

But Memphis would not overtake the Timberwolves until Kyle Lowry scored from the lane with six minutes left for an 87-86 lead.

PACERS 117, HORNETS 104: At New Orleans, Ike Diogu had a perfect shooting night and scored 19 points to lead the Indiana pass New Orleans.

Diogu, a second-year reserve from Arizona State, was 7-of-7 from the field and hit all five of his free throws in 24 minutes.

All of Indiana's starters scored in double figures, led by Troy Murphy, who had 14 points and fouled out in the third quarter. Murphy, a center with outside range, hit consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter to give Indiana an 84-63 lead. He also hit a 3-pointer in the first half.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half to help Indiana take a 62-52 lead. Danny Granger had 13 points, while Mike Dunleavy and Jamaal Tinsley both added 10 for the Pacers.