Henderson, Walker lead Bobcats past Magic

John Delong, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats want to make sure they don't finish with the worst record in the NBA for the second straight year.
They took another step toward getting out of the cellar with a come-from-behind 114-108 victory over the injury-riddled and free-falling Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker scored 34 points apiece -- each one shy of their career highs -- and the Bobcats pulled away with a 10-0 surge in the final four minutes after trailing by as many as 19 in the first half.
The win moved the Bobcats to 17-54, just a half-game behind an 18-54 Orlando team that has now lost eight straight.
"If there is something to play for, it is that," Henderson said. "We play with a lot of pride and we're obviously not going to make the playoffs and stuff like that. So that's what we need to play for. I'll play for that. You never want to be seen as the worst team regardless of how your season's gone. Definitely last year we were the undisputed worst team, so we don't want that to happen again."
The Bobcats finished 7-59 last season, the worst record in NBA history. They have had the worst record in the league for most of the last three months, thanks to a 17-game losing streak and a 10-game losing streak.
Wednesday's win snapped a two-game losing streak and was Charlotte's third in the last five games. The Bobcats also have won four of their last five home games.
"I saw a lot of heart tonight," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "Especially this time of year when you have no shot at the playoffs. Our whole theme has been to prove and to also let our fans and everyone know that we're still fully engaged."
Henderson and Walker were a two-man show in the second half, combining to score 41 of the Bobcats' 63 points. Henderson scored 15 in the third quarter, and then Walker made the big plays down the stretch. He had a basket, two free throws and an assist to Bismack Biyombo for a dunk in the game-deciding 10-0 surge, after Orlando led 106-104 going into the final four minutes.
"We used a simple pick-and-roll in the fourth," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "We said, 'Kemba, you can have the game in the final five minutes. And when he didn't have something that was a good look, he was finding guys on the perimeter, and one of them was Gerald. Gerald was doing some nice cutting off the pick-and-roll schemes and he got a couple of nice buckets because of that."
Henderson finished 12 of 18 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line, while Walker was 13 of 23 from the field and 6 of 9 from the line, with nine assists.
"I think our team is better when me and Kemba are being aggressive," Henderson said. "They're going to collapse on us. We feel we can bring in a lot of attention. So whenever we're aggressive and put our head down trying to get into the lane, we're able to either get our scores or create an opportunity for a teammate."
The Magic were without injured starters Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic -- who combine to average 44 points and 22 rebounds -- plus Hedo Turkoglu, who suited up for the first time but did not play after his 20-game drug-related suspension ended.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn used just eight players, and four of the starters played at least 42 minutes. It showed as the Magic failed to score on seven straight possessions at one point in the final four minutes.
"There were some stretches where I played guys 12 minutes straight, and that was a concern," Vaughn said. "I know I rode Tobias (Harris) for a continual length of time. So it was a little tough. But at the same time, we need a little heightened focus there to fight fatigue and to work through it. Actually, this is great for them. We'll sit down and watch film of the possessions where, 'Be confident enough to take the same shots in the fourth quarter that you do in the first quarter.' The game is the same for 48 minutes. So we'll take a look at that and continue to grow."
Harris led the Magic with a career-high 29 points. Kyle O'Quinn also had a career high with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Maurice Harkless scored 18, and DeQuan Jones and Jameer Nelson scored 13 each.
NOTES: The Magic were also without Andrew Nicholson (sprained left ankle). ... The Bobcats are still missing Brendan Haywood (stress reaction left foot) and Ramon Sessions (sprained left knee). ... Since losing to the Bobcats at home on Jan. 18, the Magic are 4-30. The Bobcats are 8-25 in that same span. ... The Bobcats will hit the road next for a three-game trip, starting Friday at New York. They'll also play at Philadelphia and at Milwaukee. ... The Magic will return home to face Washington on Friday, then will head out on a five-game trip with games at Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago and Cleveland.

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