Michael Jordan was known to play his best against the best. The team he now owns seems to fit that description, too.
Hours after Jordan was approved as the first former player to be a majority owner of an NBA team, his Charlotte Bobcats continued a remarkable string of success against the better teams in the NBA, rallying from 19 points down to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 100-92, last night in Charlotte, N.C.
Stephen Jackson scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, Stephen Graham matched a career high with 19 points filling in for the injured Gerald Wallace, and the Bobcats sent poor-shooting Kevin Durant and the Thunder to only their fourth loss in 21 games.
Jordan has won six NBA titles and five league MVPs as a player — but now he’s also 1-0 as an owner.
“Happy owner, happy team, happy organization,’’ Jackson said.
Charlotte’s seventh win in eight games came a night after an ugly loss at struggling Indiana.
This game, though, had a different feel.
Jordan, who was a part owner with the final say on basketball decisions, sat in his customary seat at the end of the Charlotte bench. But this was the first time he did it as the big boss. The league’s Board of Governors yesterday unanimously approved his $275 million purchase from Bob Johnson.
“I say this all the time, that there’s a different energy when he’s around,’’ Bobcats coach Larry Brown said.
Durant had 26 points and 10 rebounds but was 9 of 26 from the field.
Cavaliers 99, Pacers 94 — LeBron James had 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists, and host Cleveland clinched its second straight outright Central Division championship and third in team history. The Pacers were without leading scorer Danny Granger, who did not make the trip after spending the night in an Indianapolis hospital Tuesday. He took an inadvertent elbow to his upper right cheek in the final minute Tuesday night against Charlotte. CT scans on his head and neck found no problems.
Magic 110, Spurs 84 — Vince Carter had 24 points and eight assists, and host Orlando smothered Tim Duncan defensively to beat San Antonio. Duncan had 2 points and was 1 for 10 from the field in the worst shooting percentage game of his career.
Raptors 106, Hawks 105 — Chris Bosh hit the winning shot with 2.1 seconds left and host Toronto ended a five-game losing streak. Bosh finished with 14 points.
Jazz 122, Timberwolves 100 — Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 11 rebounds as host Utah handed Minnesota its 11th straight loss.
Clippers 101, Bucks 93 — Chris Kaman had 20 points and seven rebounds as host Los Angeles snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Warriors 131, Hornets 121 — Monta Ellis had 28 points and tied his career high with 13 assists, Anthony Tolliver had a career-high 30 points, and Golden State overcame a 21-point deficit to beat visiting New Orleans.
Mavericks 113, Bulls 106 — Caron Butler scored 27 points and J.J. Barea scored 10 straight when things tightened up in the fourth quarter to spark host Dallas.
Rockets 107, Grizzlies 94 — Aaron Brooks set a Houston record by hitting seven 3-pointers without a miss and scored 31 points, and the Rockets snapped Memphis’ seven-game road winning streak.
76ers 108, Nets 97 — Jrue Holiday had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists as Philadelphia snapped a five-game losing streak and completed a 4-0 sweep of the Nets for the first time in 33 years. New Jersey (7-61) needs to win three of its last 14 games to avoid the NBA record for fewest victories (9) set by the 1972-73 76ers.