CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Al Jefferson had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead Charlotte to a 95-91 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday night that gave the Bobcats’ their first win over Los Angeles in their last seven tries.
The veteran center was 12 of 23 from the field as the Bobcats won for the third time in their last four games at home.
Gerald Henderson scored 13 points and put the Bobcats ahead for good with 22.5 seconds left with a dunk off Ramon Sessions’ air ball.
Blake Griffin was dominant early and finished with 27 points, but was 0 for 4 from the field in the fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford had 20 points for the Clippers, who fell to 11-12 on the road.
The Bobcats improved to 2-0 without point guard Kemba Walker.
Sessions had 10 points and a season-high eight assists.
The Clippers came in having won their previous six games against the Bobcats by an average of 16.7 points.
But it was the Bobcats who were in control most of this game.
Charlotte took a 72-70 lead into the fourth quarter before opening a seven-point lead behind backup point guard Jannero Pargo, who scored seven quick points. Pargo has scored 22 points in his last two games with Walker out with a sprained ankle.
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The Clippers battled back as Crawford connected on a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to cut the lead to one. Crawford tied the game at 89 with a minute remaining.
It was all Bobcats from there.
Charlotte grabbed the lead for good with 22.5 seconds left when Sessions threw up a runner in the lane that hit nothing. Henderson, however, circled under the basket, grabbed the rebound and quickly elevated on the side of the rim for a dunk before the Clippers could react.
The Clippers had two chances to tie the game, but Crawford missed a layup and Griffin couldn’t connect on the putback.
Josh McRoberts sank two foul shots with 13.9 seconds left to push the lead to four. Griffin missed another layup and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added two more free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
The Bobcats didn’t seem to have an answer for Griffin early as he proved too physical for McRoberts and Cody Zeller in the low post and too quick for Jefferson. But as the game went on the Bobcats doubled him more in the low post and slowed him down with Sessions stripping him at one point.
Jefferson was a beast down low, too.
He came in with the hot hand for the Bobcats, averaging 25.5 points and 12.7 rebounds while shooting 55.8 percent over the last six games and didn’t let up against the Clippers.
NOTES: Jefferson has scored 20 or more points in seven straight games. … Griffin has scored in double digits in every game he’s played this season.