Big Bobcats run sinks Wizards, squanders clinch attempt

Big Bobcats run sinks Wizards, squanders clinch attempt
March 31, 2014, 9:45 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson each had a double-double and theCharlotte Bobcats rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Washington 100-94 Monday night, preventing the Wizards from clinching their first playoff berth since 2008.

Walker finished with 21 points and 10 assists and Jefferson had 19 points and 11 rebounds despite needing seven stitches in the first half to close a gash above his right eye.

Washington would still clinch a playoff spot if the New York Knicks lose to the Utah Jazzlater Monday night.

The Wizards came in looking to snap the third-longest playoff drought in the NBA, and led by 16 at the half and 11 with 9:13 left in the game.

But Walker scored nine points in the final quarter, helping the Bobcats pull within two games of the Washington in the race for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Rookie Cody Zeller scored a career-high 15 points on 4-of-4 shooting and had eight rebounds for Charlotte.

Bradley Beal had 20 points for the Wizards, which missed 11 of their last 14 shots from the field.

The Wizards trailed by seven midway through the second quarter before heating up and going on a 30-7 run to close the first half and take a 60-44 lead into the locker room. At one point the Wizards hit 10 straight shots from the field and scored on 14 of 15 possessions.

Washington shot 59 percent from the field in the first half and scored 36 points in the paint. Beal led the way with 14 points and Harrington came off the bench to score 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting.

The Bobcats cut the lead to seven early in the third quarter, but Trevor Ariza -- who was scoreless in the first half -- knocked down three straight 3-pointers to push the lead back to 16.

But the Bobcats would make another run in the fourth quarter, closing the game with a 27-10 run.

Walker came up with the loose ball off a Washington turnover and fed Chris Douglas-Roberts for a fast-break layup with 7:38 left in the game.

Douglas-Roberts made a 3-point play and then knocked down a long-distance 3 to cut the lead to one. Jefferson gave the Bobcats the lead for good at 93-92 with 3:30 left in the game on a putback off and offensive rebound.

Jefferson then hit a 16-footer to push the lead to three.

The Bobcats took more than a minute off the clock on their next possession after collecting two offensive rebounds and kicking the ball out. Walker capped it with a driving layup to push the lead to 97-92 with a minute left.

Jefferson left the game briefly at the end of the first quarter to head to the locker room to get the stitches above his right eye after taking an elbow to the head.

Game notes
Neal returned to action for the Bobcats after missing two games with an ankle injury. He had nine points ... The Bobcats have won four of six against Washington, but have split their two games in this season's series. ... The Bobcats have won 11 of their last 13 at home.

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