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Bulls Fall Without Kokuc

Brad Miller spent 18 minutes Wednesday night making Charlotte Hornets manager Bob Bass look like a genius.

Miller, who wasn't selected in the 1998 NBA draft, rewarded the Hornets for signing him to a free-agent contract by playing easily his best game of the season, powering Charlotte to a 110-81 victory over Chicago.

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Game Summary

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  • "You've got to tip your hat to Bob Bass for signing him," new Charlotte coach Paul Silas said of Miller, who scored 12 of his season-high 25 points in a second-quarter run that put the Hornets in control. "A lot of people passed on him. We got lucky, because he's playing as well as, if not better than, a lot of the guys who were drafted, and drafted early."

    Miller, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound center from Purdue, made all nine of his field-goal attempts and all seven of his free throws to help the Hornets to their sixth victory in 10 games under Silas.

    It was the ninth time under Silas that the Hornets have held an opponent to less than 90 points. This one was made easier by the fact that Toni Kukoc, the only member of the Bulls averaging more than 12 points, stayed in Chicago to rest a sore back.

    "We're in a period of transition and without a couple of our key players," Chicago coach Tim Floyd said, "but we have to understand and our younger players have to step up."

    That's exactly what happened to Miller, whose shooting touch helped the Hornets make a season-high 57 percent of their field-goal attempts. He added five rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocks on a night when Charlotte never trailed.

    "I was amazed by my performance," Miller said. "I knew I had some pints, but I don't know how I finished with 25. They must have given me some bonus points."

    By the time the game ended, Miller had powered Charlotte to a 56-21 edge in bench scoring and put on such a display that his teammates stood along the bench, waving white towels and bowing as they cheered each of his spinning layups or dunks.

    Miller, who had not scored more than 14, got his new season-high in just 18 minutes. It represented the best points-to-minutes ratio in franchise history.

    "It feels great. You just want to keep going and see what else you can do in a night," he said. "I was jumping around, trying to block shots. I was even waiting to shoot a 3-pointer. I figured it probably would have gone in. The way my night was going, it probably would have gone in off the glass."

    Charlotte, winning its sixth consecutive home game, also got 16 points from David Wesley and 14 apiece from Eddie Jones and rookie Ricky Davis.

    Dickey Simpkins had 20 points for the Bulls, who lost for the fifth time in six road games.

    "They were just too strong for us," Chicago's Randy Brown said. "We talked about stopping a lot of people, but not in our wildest dreams did we think Brad Miller would get 25."

    Led by Miller, whose 10-minute stint in the second quarter also featured four rebounds and a steal, the Hornets had a 22-8 edge in bench scoring in the period. The difference helped Charlotte build a three-point lead after the first quarter to 14 points at halftime.

    Chicago got no closer than 11 in the second half, and Charlotte extended its lead as high as 29.

    Notes

    Charlotte starting small forward Bobby Phills scored seven points before sitting out the second half to rest a strained left quadriceps muscle. Reserve center Charles Shackleford, bothered by a sore toe, did not play. ... The Hornets had failed to score more than 100 points in 14 consecutive games against Chicago, dating back to Feb. 20, 1995. ... Chicago's Brent Barry missed his first free throw of the game, ending his string of consecutive foul shots made at 20.

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