Bobcats use late surge to beat Wizards

John Delong, Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Bobcats have fallen apart down the stretch of several games this season, but it was just the opposite on Monday night.
The Bobcats stunned the Washington Wizards 119-114 thanks to a 12-0 run down the stretch, after they had trailed by five going into the final three minutes.
It was a relief for Kemba Walker, who made huge plays at both ends of the court during the rally.
"We've had a lot of games that we probably should have won in the fourth quarter, but we didn't execute," Walker said. "That happens. That's part of growing. It's part of the game. But tonight I thought we took a huge step, being down and sticking with each other and being able to pull out a win.
"This is a really big win for us. We really wanted that win. We played really hard, stayed with each other. At times we played really well, at times we didn't, but we stayed with it."
The win improved the Bobcats' record to 15-52, and was their third victory this season over the Wizards. Charlotte had lost 12 of its previous 13. Washington fell to 23-43 and had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 27 points and eight assists, on a night when the Bobcats shot 53.2 percent from the field. Ben Gordon scored 19 points, Walker had 18, Josh McRoberts scored 17, and Jannero Pargo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 11 each.
The Bobcats led by nine in the first half and took a 94-89 lead into the fourth quarter. But they faded in the fourth and trailed 111-106 after Trevor Booker converted a fastbreak layup with 3:14 left.
Walker cut the margin to three with a drive, then, after a Washington turnover, Gordon hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 111-111 with 2:04 remaining.
Washington's John Wall missed on a drive, and Walker came back with another drive for a 113-111 Charlotte lead at the 1:37 mark. Walker then stepped up at the defensive end and drew a charge from Wall on Washington's next possession, then scored on another drive to make it 115-111 with 1:24 left. Walker came up with a steal on Washington's next possession and Henderson followed with a 3-pointer for a 118-111 lead with 55 seconds left.
"On the defensive side he got two key steals and he took a charge, so that was three possessions where he pretty much took the possessions on his shoulders, all with positive results," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "Then on the offensive side, we knew Nene had five fouls so we put Kemba in the pick-and-roll and we knew they would play it soft, and it was Kemba's game from there."
The Wizards were shocked at the way they melted down at the end.
"We played about five minutes of what we call how we play, getting up and pressuring," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "Then we went back to just, 'Well, we're going to win this now, we're up five, we're going to coast in.' And you can't do that. It ends up biting you. Then we don't execute down the stretch. Inexcusable. It'll bite you every night in this league."
Wall led the Wizards with 25 points before fouling out. Nene had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, Garrett Temple and Emeka Okafor scored 17 each, and Martell Webster scored 12.
"We got very complacent, lazy on defense, myself included," Webster said. "You can't do that. Mentally you have to stay in it and be engaged, especially on the road. It just hurts. You've got to learn from this, but you don't get too many chances like this."
Notes: The Wizards were without A.J. Price (groin) and Leandro Barbosa (knee), while the Bobcats were without Ramon Sessions (knee) and DeSagana Diop (knee). ... Wall was named the NBA Player of the Week on Monday, becoming the first Wizards player to receive the honor in the past five years. ... In four games last week, Wall averaged 24 points, 11 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals. He became the first player in NBA history in the 3-point era (since 1979) to average at least 24 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, two steals, shoot at least .600 from the field and .800 from the free-throw line in any four-game span. ... Pargo, signed by the Bobcats on March 14, played seven games with the Wizards earlier this season before being waived. ... Monday's game started a three-game home stand for the Bobcats. They'll host Toronto on Wednesday and Detroit on Saturday. ... Monday's game started a four-game road trip for the Wizards. They'll play at Phoenix on Wednesday and will face the Lakers and Golden State later on the trip.
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