Save Money in this Sunday's paper

Bobcats 98, Wizards 85

comments

Charlotte Bobcats beat Washington Wizards 98-85

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/12/22/38/egbNU.Em.138.jpeg|347
    Harry E. Walker - MCT
    Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson (25) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (4) during the first half of their game played at the Verizon Center in Washington, Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/12/21/27/hoeM5.Em.138.JPG|354
    Harry E. Walker - MCT
    Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker (35) and guard John Wall (2) during the first half of their game played at the Verizon Center in Washington, Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/12/22/37/1eJsvT.Em.138.jpeg|290
    Evan Vucci - AP
    Charlotte Bobcats guard Chris Douglas-Roberts (55) steals the ball from Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 12, 2014, in Washington. The Bobcats defeated the Wizards 98-85. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/12/21/52/zkigV.Em.138.jpeg|473
    Harry E. Walker - MCT
    Charlotte Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford calls a play from the bench during the second half of their game against the Washington Wizards played at the Verizon Center in Washington, Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014.Charlotte defeated Washington 98-85. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/12/21/51/1umqnQ.Em.138.jpeg|440
    Harry E. Walker - MCT
    Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts (11) blocks the shot of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the second half of their game played at the Verizon Center in Washington, Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014.Charlotte defeated Washington 98-85. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

WASHINGTON Here was point guard Kemba Walker’s message Wednesday after his Charlotte Bobcats beat the Washington Wizards 98-85:

If the Bobcats don’t believe they’re worthy, why would anyone else?

“Confidence is everything – not just in basketball, in everything – and I think we have a lot of confidence at this time,” said Walker, whose team has won four of five overall and seven in a row at home.

“We beat some really good teams and stayed in games with some really good teams. As long as we compete with the best every night.”

Wednesday they competed for sure, hanging around long enough to watch the Wizards melt down late. The Bobcats got to the foul line 10 times the final quarter – four of those by Walker – to outscore the Wizards by 10 over the last 12 minutes.

As good as Wizards point guard John Wall was in the first half (18 points on 8-of-12 shooting), the gifted player who grew up in Raleigh lost his cool late, and it was costly. Wall committed a shooting foul on Walker outside the 3-point line with 41/2 minutes left.

That gave Walker three free throws and threw Wall into a mini-rage. Wizards coach Randy Wittman amplified the situation with a technical foul. By the time Washington got the ball back, the Bobcats had spread a three-point lead to seven.

Wall missed back-to-back free throws on the ensuing possession. Walker got the ball back and made a running 3-pointer with just over four minutes left that settled this one.

The Bobcats are 31-34, the Wizards 33-31. Never have these two beaten-down franchises been in playoff contention at the same time this late in an NBA season.

“It’s a whole different story now – two teams trying to make the playoffs, two teams playing great basketball, two teams turning their organizations around,” said Walker (16 points and five assists). “It’s good to see.”

It’s nice for center Al Jefferson (26 points and 10 rebounds), but he wasn’t around for 28-120 over the previous two seasons. Walker and shooting guard Gerald Henderson can take a distinct satisfaction in this turnaround.

“Especially for some of the guys who’ve been here, who went through all that, it’s nice to be racking up some wins,” Walker said.

The Bobcats have been good defensively through most of this season, as the Wizards’ 85 points and 43 percent shooting at home demonstrated.

The offense is coming around of late; the Bobcats shot 49 percent on the road and got to the foul line 22 times to the Wizards’ nine. When the Bobcats outrebound the opposition (44-37) and earn more free-throw attempts, it fits the formula coach Steve Clifford has for success.

Clifford said Tuesday it’s not enough for the Bobcats just to reach the playoffs; they need to keep progressing, improving, to give themselves a chance once the postseason arrives.

Walker believes that’s happening, too.

“I think we get so much better every day,” he said.

“We practice like pros. Even when it’s a light practice, you can see the focus.”

CharlotteMINFG-AFT-AOR-TRAFPt
Kidd-Gilchrist30:284-62-23-121110
McRoberts31:013-92-41-5419
Jefferson36:2213-200-00-101226
Walker36:525-135-60-35116
Henderson26:386-91-20-10113
Zeller16:592-23-43-7037
Douglas-Roberts21:222-54-41-30010
Tolliver17:321-50-00-1103
Ridnour11:082-70-00-0114
Biyombo11:380-20-01-2010
Totals240:0038-7817-229-44131198

Percentages: FG .487, FT .773. Three-Point Goals: 5-18, .278 (Douglas-Roberts 2-2, McRoberts 1-4, Walker 1-4, Tolliver 1-5, Henderson 0-1, Ridnour 0-2). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 11 (9 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Henderson 2, Jefferson). Turnovers: 10 (Henderson 2, Jefferson 2, McRoberts 2, Zeller 2, Kidd-Gilchrist, Walker). Steals: 5 (Douglas-Roberts 2, McRoberts, Tolliver, Walker). Technicals: Defensive 3 second, 8:54 third.

WashingtonMINFG-AFT-AOR-TRAFPt
Ariza32:233-90-01-3237
Booker24:270-20-02-4020
Gortat35:015-132-21-103112
Wall34:2510-190-21-24523
Beal36:337-182-30-31318
Webster30:352-62-21-4027
Harrington14:533-60-00-2138
Miller13:353-40-00-1526
Gooden17:522-50-02-8014
Temple0:160-00-00-0000
Totals240:0035-826-98-37162285

Percentages: FG .427, FT .667. Three-Point Goals: 9-25, .360 (Wall 3-5, Harrington 2-4, Beal 2-5, Webster 1-4, Ariza 1-6, Miller 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 14 (16 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Gooden 2, Booker, Gortat). Turnovers: 14 (Ariza 4, Wall 4, Beal 2, Gooden 2, Booker, Miller). Steals: 3 (Beal, Harrington, Wall). Technical Fouls: Coach Wittman, 4:34 fourth.

Charlotte2226212998
Washington2719201985

Att.—17,220 (20,308). T—2:05.

Officials—Bill Kennedy, Kevin Scott, Ben Taylor.

Bonnell: Twitter: @rick_bonnell
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
CharlotteObserver.com