It was a home victory that was the stuff of legend or as close as the Charlotte Bobcats are going to get to legend this season, anyway.
Down by two points with six seconds to go, on a possession that was looking like a bad slapstick routine, Kemba Walker finally got a pass to Gerald Henderson 25 feet from the basket.
Thirty feet, Henderson corrected after the game, still basking in the glow.
Well, the play-by-play sheet said 25. But OK. Thirty feet.
Shoot! Shoot! everyone yelled. But Henderson first pump-faked Minnesotas Andrei Kirilenko off his feet. Only then did he launch, with Kirilenko sailing by him like a comet. A single second remained on the shot clock.
I just basically threw it as far as I could, Henderson said.
The ball swished with 4.6 seconds left. Charlotte won, 102-101. Pandemonium reigned, as an announced crowd of 15,397 screamed itself hoarse for the teams first home victory since Nov. 21.
It wasnt exactly that simple, of course. For the Bobcats to break their 16-game homecourt losing streak which was only three short of the NBA record they had to have the following things happen:
The Bobcats had to get away with a likely foul on J.J. Barea on Minnesotas last possession.
The Timberwolves had to play without their star injured center Kevin Love.
The Bobcats had to rebound from a horrible first quarter in which they once trailed by 18 points.
But all of that did happen, and was helped considerably by the Bobcats four-guard lineup that led the comeback.
And it was about time the Bobcats got a little luck at home and gave their fans something to hang onto I was amazed at how many people were still in the building after 16 straight losses.
Mark Twain once wrote: I can live for two months on a good compliment. But it had been more than two months since the Bobcats earned an end-of-the-night compliment from their home fans, who hadnt seen a win since the team beat Toronto on Nov. 21 to move to 6-4.
The Bobcats had run through their Sour 16, in Charlotte since then. And after this game against the Timberwolves, the Bobcats were about to go on the road for five straight and then come back to Charlotte in February to face the L.A. Lakers and Boston. In other words, this was the game the Bobcats needed to avoid another ignoble record, and ultimately it was the one they got.
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap called Hendersons 3-pointer beautiful, fortuitous and well-deserved. It was all of those things. Its also worth noting that it never would have happened had not Michael Kidd-Gilchrist saved the possession once when the ball was going out of bounds and had not Walker (25 points) saved it another time and then found Henderson for the assist.
The win only improved the Bobcats to 11-32, and the team getting to 20 wins for the season is probably an even proposition. The Bobcats are committed to playing the kids, which is the right thing to do even though, as Dunlap noted: This league is cruel on the young.
The Bobcats have experienced plenty of that cruelty over the past two seasons. But on Saturday night, they got a rare chance to experience a bit of joy.
Scott Fowler: email@example.com; Twitter: @Scott_Fowler
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