Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford didn’t mind losing his voice so long as his team didn’t lose this game. “Overtime – the extra five minutes,” Clifford croaked about when his vocal cords gave out. The near-voiceless coach didn’t have to say much because his players made such a statement with their defense. They held the Washington Wizards to one point and 0-of-8 shooting in the extra period of the Bobcats’ 94-88 victory at Verizon Center. Obviously this game had big stakes. By winning, the Bobcats pulled into a tie with the Wizards for the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are 40-38, but the Bobcats also claimed the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-1 head-to-head record against Washington. The Bobcats gave up all of a 20-point first-half lead as the Wizards pulled ahead 78-77 with 51/2 minutes left in regulation on Bradley Beal’s 15-foot pull-up jumper. Charlotte center Al Jefferson forced overtime with a reverse layup with 3.2 seconds left. From there it was a snuff-out of the Wizards’ offense. The only score the Bobcats ended up needing in overtime was point guard Kemba Walker’s 3-pointer with just under three minutes left. Walker didn’t have much of a shooting night (6-of-21 from the field for 17 points), but that didn’t dissuade his teammates from getting him the ball in clutch situations. “He’s got courage,” Clifford said. “He wants the ball late and he’ll take the big shot.” Walker’s reaction after the shot fell? “Finally!” he said, then he expanded on the trust his coaches and teammates have in him. “I think they depend on me, and that’s a very comforting feeling,” Walker said.
Bobcats get key victory over Wizards
Charlotte Observer | Apr 10