CharlotteWizards center JaVale McGee has been whistled for his fair share of goaltending calls. It was ironic then that the Wizards were able to escape with a 102-99 win over the Charlotte Bobcats with the help of a goaltending call that favored McGee.
With the Wizards clinging to a one-point lead, the Bobcats Byron Mullens attempted to block McGees jump hook from six feet and instead was called for goaltending. The basket awarded to McGee gave the Wizards the 102-99 lead to protect over the final 41.2 seconds of the game.
A combination of rebounds and exceptional defense in those final seconds helped the Wizards close the game for their first road win of the season despite two missed free throws by McGee with six seconds left. With 22 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots; McGee led a balanced Wizards attack that included six players in double figures.
Thats what we can do, said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman. Every coach knows who the scorers are, and they have got to give me an opportunity to put them in the position to do that. They dont need to create those opportunities on their own, let me help you. Do it through a system of what we are trying to do.
The Bobcats dropped their eighth straight game and continued to play shorthanded with usual starting guards D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson sidelined with their injuries. To their credit the Bobcats continued to press despite getting down by as many as 12 points in the second half.
In what turned out to be an exciting point-guard battle with John Wall, rookie Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with his first career triple-double including 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. It was Walker that hit a three-pointer with one minute left in the game to bring the Bobcats to within one point at 100-99.
The Wizards were able to accomplish their dual offensive goals of playing an up-tempo game while managing their turnovers. In the first half the Wizards recorded 19 of their 26 assists and for the game had 14 turnovers that led to only 12 Bobcats points. The assists were spread around with Wall leading the way 10, while Jordan Crawford had 7 and Jan Vesely had 4.
Four assists is an impressive number for someone playing power forward like Vesely. For the second straight game Vesely started ahead of Andray Blatche and was instrumental in helping the Wizards build a 60-50 half-time lead. It was while Vesely was on the floor in the second quarter that the Wizards went on an 18-11 run to separate from the Bobcats.
We just took our time and trusted each other, Wall said. When we had key turnovers, we stayed together and got defensive stops at the other end.
To go with his 10 assists Wall had 13 points including his first three-point field goal of the season. Nick Young survived being saddled with four fouls in the third quarter to score 8 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. Off the bench Trevor Booker had a season-high 16 points.