Behind Al Jefferson’s 38th double-double (20 points, 18 rebounds) and Kemba Walker’s ninth (17 points, 12 assists), the Bobcats outlasted the Washington Wizards, 94-88, in overtime for a season-high, fifth-straight win and the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Cats appeared to have let this one get away as they led by as many as 20 in the second quarter and let the Wizards come all the way back to take their first lead with 5:28 left in the fourth. Both teams traded buckets for the rest of the quarter, forcing the game into overtime tied, 87-87. Kemba Walker drilled the only field goal in the extra session – a deep, 30-foot three-pointer to give the Cats an early lead. That’s all they would need as Charlotte sealed the game with clutch free throws from Walker and Al Jefferson, outscoring Washington 7-1 in OT.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
After knocking down nine threes and shooting 52.9 percent from downtown in their last meeting on Mar. 31, the Cats were able to hold the Wizards to just one trey and a dreadful 6.7 percent from long range. Charlotte was efficient from three, going 11-for-25 (44.0 percent)… Gary Neal was key for the Cats with 16 of the 28 bench points for Charlotte, who outscored Washington’s bench with 23… Though the Cats were dominated in paint scoring by the Wizards, 50-28, Charlotte was able to outrebound Washington, 48-43, including nine offensive rebounds which they converted into 11 second-chance points to the Wizards seven… The Cats were unable to win the turnover battle, coughing the ball up 13 times to 12 for Washington, but Charlotte was able to score more points off their turnovers (18) then the Wizards (15)… The Cats saw five players in double figures – Al Jefferson (20), Kemba Walker (17), Gary Neal (16), Gerald Henderson (13) and Josh McRoberts (12).
BOBCATS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Big Al came up big again for the Cats, finishing with a team-high 20 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Jefferson now has nine double-doubles in his last 11 games and has scored 20 or more in 34 of his last 41 games.
WIZARDS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Marcin Gortat did his best to contain Al Jefferson but managed to have a spectacular night of his own with a game-high 27 points and 14 rebounds in 44 minutes of action.
The Cats are now riding a season-high five-game winning streak. The team is now 17-8 since the All-Star Break and 13-5 in their last 18 games… With the victory, Charlotte has now moved up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference and owns the tiebreaker, 3-1, over the Washington Wizards… Josh McRoberts returned to the starting lineup after missing three games with a left ankle sprain. He performed well, finishing with 12 points, two boards, two assists and two steals… With 17 points, Kemba Walker has hit double-figures in 22 of his last 28 games and in 59 of his 71 games played this season…Charlotte was able to hold the Wizards to 88 points, marking the 51st time in 78 games the Cats have held their opponent under 100 points, fourth-most games in the NBA.
The Cats will play the final game of their road trip in Boston on April 11 as they take on the Celtics. Listen live on WFNZ 610 am, the official Bobcats App presented by Walgreens or on bobcats.com. The game can also be seen on SportSouth and NBA League Pass.