Kemba Walker's late failures Wednesday night nearly sent the Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors to a second overtime. On the last play of the period, though, he ensured that wouldn't be necessary.
With 11 seconds left in the extra period and the Bobcats up 102-101, Walker — an 80.2 percent shooter from the line coming into the game — missed two foul shots with the Raptors looking to extend the game. However, after DeMar DeRozan split two free throws following a Gerald Henderson foul on the subsequent possession, Walker had a chance to atone for his error. With 1.0 seconds on the clock, an Al Jefferson screen allowed Walker to get to the left corner, where he took an inbounds pass from Josh McRoberts and rose for an 18-footer at the buzzer. It hit nothing but net, giving the Bobcats a 104-102 victory.
Walker, for his part, was pretty impressive outside of his late misses at the line. In 44 minutes, he posted a team-high 29 points (10-of-18 shooting, 4-of-7 from deep, and 5-of-7 from the line), five rebounds, and three steals. He has emerged as a solid scoring option for a team in desperate need of perimeter (or any) firepower.
At 12-14, the Bobcats sit at sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, a massive improvement after going a combined 28-120 in their previous two seasons. Winning more close games like this one could go a long way towards making them a surprise participant in this spring's playoffs.
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