MINNEAPOLIS So much went wrong. And then Kemba Walker made it all right.
Reggie Williams called a timeout the Charlotte Bobcats didnt have. Ramon Sessions missed two free throws with 27 seconds left. Tyrus Thomas stepped out of bounds while rebounding a Minnesota Timberwolves miss.
Any one of those mistakes could have cost the Bobcats this game. But Walker wouldnt let that happen. With 12 seconds left and the score tied, he cleared out the lane, went one-on-one against 6-foot-6 Alexey Shved, and swished a 19-foot game-winner.
Bobcats 89, Timberwolves 87. The Bobcats are on a three-game winning streak and are 4-3 for the season.
I told Tyrus I just wanted to get a clean shot, Walker said of aborting the pick-and-roll play called. I said, Just let me work. Ill get a good shot.
Might not have been a good shot for just anybody, but Walker, who scored 22 points, is having a flashback to the days when he dragged Connecticut to the 2010 NCAA championship. He and Sessions carried the Bobcats for most of the second half, with Charlotte leading by as much as 16 before Minnesota (5-3) made a big run during the final 4 1/2 minutes.
I felt a lot like how games were in college, said Walker. One of those days.
I dont like that we let those guys come back. But we have to go through some things to grow as a team.
This could have been a very hard lesson in collective breakdown. Though it was unclear whether the staff warned the players, coach Mike Dunlap took blanket blame for Williams timeout call, which gave the Timberwolves a technical foul free throw and the ball, down two with 38 seconds left.
My fault 100 percent on me, Dunlap said. My job as head coach is to make sure everyone knows when timeouts are exhausted.
It was odd that Sessions (18 points), such a closer these past three games, would brick two free throws with the game on the line in the final 27 seconds. Thomas stepping out of bound was more a physical mistake; he was in traffic along the baseline, looking to secure possession, and appeared to lose his balance.
Then Walker cleaned up everyones mess in his finest moment yet as a Bobcat. Wednesday he played like that guy worthy of a top-10 pick in the 2011 draft.
Kemba has done that his whole career. He put it on his shoulders and said, My game, Dunlap described.
A vintage Kemba game: Im so glad we have him and they dont.