Taylor fills in with 20, Bobcats beat 76ers 105-88

After watching Jeffery Taylor lead Charlotte to its latest win,

Bobcats coach Steve Clifford was full of praise for his young

star.

Taylor matched a career high with 20 points, leading six

teammates in double figures, and Charlotte beat the Philadelphia

76ers 105-88 on Friday night.

”He’s a talented guy,” Clifford said of the 24-year-old

Taylor. ”He’s at that age where guys make the biggest jump.

Certainly he has the size, athleticism and intelligence to get his

game to the next level. And he’s a hard worker.”

Subbing for injured starter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at small

forward, Taylor mixed mid-range jumpers with athletic drives and

cuts to the basket to scored nine of Charlotte’s first 22

points.

”I was just trying to take the opportunities as they came to

me,” said Taylor, a second-round draft pick in his second NBA

season. ”A lot of the same shots I made tonight haven’t been going

in for me lately. I just tried to stay aggressive and take what the

defense gave to me.”

Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker added 18 apiece, and Walker

also had a season-high 10 assists. Al Jefferson had 14 points and

12 rebounds, Ramon Sessions added 13 points and rookie Cody Zeller

chipped in with 10.

Philadelphia was led by Tony Wroten’s 21 points. Evan Turner

added 16, Hollis Thompson scored 12 and Spencer Hawes had 10 points

and 13 rebounds.

The Sixers played without starting point guard Michael

Carter-Williams, who came in averaging 17.7 points. The rookie sat

out because of a sore right knee.

Taylor impressed even Philadelphia coach Brett Brown.

”He’s a good player,” Brown said. ”You look at his length and

you look at his toughness and that’s a rare combination. … He had

personal pride in attacking us.”

In addition to playing without Kidd-Gilchrist, out four to six

weeks after breaking his left hand during a loss at Dallas last

Tuesday, the Bobcats lost backup center Bismack Biyombo to a right

ankle sprain in the first half.

In a matchup of defensive-minded teams, the opening quarter was

an up-and-down affair that ended with the Bobcats leading 36-33

after shooting 56 percent from the field (14 of 25). They never

trailed again, eventually leading by as many as 18 points in the

fourth quarter while shooting 46 percent for the game.

The Bobcats have held opponents under 100 points for 13

consecutive games, most in the NBA.

The Sixers cooled off after hitting seven of their first 12

shots, but Charlotte shot 54 percent (25 of 46) in the first half.

The Bobcats took a 62-51 halftime lead on Jefferson’s tip-in of a

missed layup by Walker at the second-quarter buzzer.

”I feel like the whole first half was not very good for us

defensively,” Brown said of the Sixers.

Wroten added: ”We’ve got to start the game off better

defensively. We played better on defense in the second half, but

we’ve just got to play defense like that for the whole 48

minutes.”

Jefferson scored the first two baskets of the third to give the

Bobcats the first of what would be multiple 15-point leads in the

quarter. The lead swelled to as much as 18 in the fourth as the

Bobcats continued running and scoring almost at will in transition,

evidenced by the 22-10 edge they held in fast-break points for the

game.

The 105 points represented a season high for the Bobcats, only

the second time they surpassed the 100-point mark. The only other

time came in a 102-97 win at New York on Nov. 5.