Bobcats 90, Pelicans 87

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Center Al Jefferson had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Charlotte Bobcats held on to win their third straight with a 90-87 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

The Bobcats led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter but ultimately needed four free throws by guard Kemba Walker in the final 8.9 seconds to hang on after the Pelicans had stormed back to tie the score at 84. Jefferson's free throw with 39.3 seconds left had given the Bobcats the lead for good at 85-84.

Jefferson scored 14 of the Bobcats' first 16 points, setting the tone on a night when he wound up going 14 of 30 from the field. It marked the seventh time in the last 11 games that Jefferson scored 30 or more.

The victory moved the Bobcats to 26-30 and was their seventh win in the last 10 games.

Walker and forward Cody Zeller finished with 13 points each for the Bobcats, who shot just 38.8 percent from the field.

New Orleans, which fell to 23-31, was led by guard Brian Roberts with 20 points. Forward Anthony Davis had 18 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out and guard Eric Gordon scored 14.

Gordon had two chances to tie in the final minute but missed a short jumper from the side and then had a turnover with Jefferson swatting the ball off him out of bounds.

The Bobcats led 25-17 after one quarter, 43-32 at halftime and 68-59 after three quarters.

NOTES: Bobcats G Gary Neal and G Luke Ridnour, acquired from Milwaukee on Thursday in exchange for G Ramon Sessions and F Jeff Adrien, passed their physicals but were not in uniform Friday night. The trade is still pending NBA approval, so the earliest Neal and Ridnour can expect to play is next Friday at San Antonio. The Bobcats have a six-day break after Saturday's home game against Memphis. ... Bobcats G Jannero Pargo moved into Sessions' spot in the rotation for Friday's game. ... This was a meeting of the former Hornets and the future Hornets. New Orleans dropped the nickname Hornets this season and Charlotte will take it back starting next season. ... The Pelicans won the only previous game between the teams this season, 105-84 in New Orleans on Nov. 2. ... C Alexis Ajinca, the Bobcats' first-round pick four years ago, was signed by the Pelicans on Dec. 21 and was in the starting lineup on Friday night. ... The Pelicans were without F Ryan Anderson (herniated disc), G Jrue Holiday (stress fracture right tibia) and C Jason Smith (right knee). ... The Bobcats have not had C Brendan Haywood (stress fracture left foot) this season and have lost F Jeffery Taylor (ruptured right Achilles) for the rest of the season. ... This was the start of a two-game road trip for the Pelicans. They will play at Washington on Saturday.
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