Bobcats pull out victory over Bucks in OT

John Delong, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats might get down, but they are rarely ever out.
They proved it again Monday night in a bizarre 111-110 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
First, the Bobcats had to come back from an 18-point second-quarter deficit. Then, they had to regroup after Milwaukee's O.J. Mayo hit a 3-pointer with one second remaining in regulation to force overtime.
But thanks to center Al Jefferson's 26 points and 25 from guard Kemba Walker -- including seven in overtime -- the Bobcats were able to win for the fourth time in the last five games and raise their record to 14-15.
"That was an exciting game obviously," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "When a guy makes a 3 like that, some teams could easily put their heads down. But the strength of the group is their fight, and they came out in overtime and made enough plays to win."
The Bobcats have now erased double-digit deficits in each of their last three wins. They rallied from 16 points down to win at Toronto, then rallied from 20 down to win at Detroit last week.
"We don't like getting behind early like that, but it happens," Walker said. "We just show our resiliency. We're a tough team. We're showing that when we get down, we're not out. We keep fighting, because the game's never over, especially in this league."
Jefferson's 26 points were a season high. For Walker, it marked the fifth straight game that he has scored at least 20 points.
The Bobcats also got 12 points each from forwards Anthony Tolliver and Cody Zeller on a night when they were 10 of 17 from 3-point range. Tolliver was a perfect 4-for-4, and Walker, forward Josh McRoberts and guard Ben Gordon hit two apiece.
Guard Brandon Knight led Milwaukee with 26 points. Forward Khris Middleton scored 19, and center John Henson and Mayo scored 14 each.
Middleton's shot at the buzzer in overtime with the Bucks trailing 111-108 could have forced a second overtime, but officials ruled that the shot was a 2-pointer, not a 3-pointer.
The Bucks had inbounded with 1.6 seconds left, after Walker had hit two free throws to push the lead to three.
"I don't know if he was aware of where he was when he caught it," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "But the play was executed. With one second on the clock, he got a great look, but his feet were on the line. That was the play we wanted, but he just didn't get behind the line."
Before that, the Bobcats had to fight back after trailing 33-17 after one quarter and then by 18 a minute into the second.
They actually had a five-point lead going into the final minute of regulation, and seemed to have the game won after Walker hit a 12-footer for a 101-98 lead with 16.1 seconds left. Then Middleton missed a 3-pointer to tie. But the rebound got kicked back out to Mayo, and he nailed the game-tying 3 with 1.0 second left.
"It happens in this league," Walker said. "He made a tough shot, so you've got to regroup. So we came out in overtime and we executed. We got stop and we hit the shots we needed to down the stretch."
The Bucks fell to 6-22, the worst record in the league. They have now lost six of their last seven games.
"We've just got to get over the hump," Drew said. "We're knocking at the door, we've just got to get over the hump. This is disappointing, because we're putting ourselves in position. The opportunity was there tonight. I told the guys, we play well in stretches, but then we have breakdowns and we start reverting back to taking bad shots, and then that can carry over to the defensive end. Particularly on the road, you've got to be disciplined."
NOTES: The Bobcats had won both previous games between the teams this season, winning 96-72 in Milwaukee on Nov. 23 and 92-76 in Charlotte on Nov. 29. The teams will meet one more time, at Milwaukee on March 16. ... Bucks F Caron Butler was playing in his second game after missing 12 games with knee problems. He scored 11 but was not on the court down the stretch, limited to 29 minutes. ... Milwaukee was without G Gary Neal (foot), C Zaza Pachulia (foot), G Carlos Delfino (foot) and C Larry Sanders (thumb). ... Bobcats F Jeffery Taylor underwent successful surgery on Monday after suffering a ruptured right Achilles in the Bobcats' win at Detroit on Friday night. He will miss the rest of the season. ... The Bobcats are also missing F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (fractured left hand) and C Brendan Haywood (stress fracture left foot). Kidd-Gilchrist will continue to wear a cast until Dec. 27. ... This is the seventh game this season that the Bobcats have won by six points or less, which is the most in the NBA. ... The Bobcats were playing the second game of a three-game homestand. They will face Oklahoma City on Friday. ... The Bucks will play at Brooklyn on Friday.

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