Walker hits OT winner, Bobcats top Raptors 104-102

With four missed free throws in the final 20 seconds of

overtime, the Charlotte Bobcats didn’t make things easy on

themselves Wednesday night.

Good thing they had Kemba Walker around to bail them out.

Walker hit a buzzer-beating jump shot in overtime and the

Bobcats beat the Raptors 104-102 on Wednesday night, snapping a

three-game losing streak in Toronto.

Walker had 29 points and Al Jefferson had 24 points and 11

rebounds as the Bobcats won their second straight.

Jefferson joked that Walker, who missed a pair from the line

with 11 seconds left, had done so intentionally to set up the

dramatic finish.

”Kemba, he lives for those shots,” Jefferson said. ”I really

think he missed those free throws on purpose so we could be in that

situation, because that’s what he lives for. That’s what he does.

He’s been doing that his whole life.”

Walker, who was stripped on the final play of the fourth quarter

before missing the key free throws in overtime, said he was eager

for the chance at redemption.

”I wanted the basketball,’ he said. ”I wanted to make that

shot. I was just happy to get the opportunity.”

Josh McRoberts scored 13 points, Ramon Sessions and Gerald

Henderson each had 11 and Anthony Tolliver had 10.

Jefferson had just five points in the first half, but was better

after the break.

”This was his best game by far,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford

said. ”The second half he was terrific. He both rebounded and

scored well in the second half.”

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and Kyle Lowry had 17 for the

Raptors. Amir Johnson fouled out with 10 points and 13 rebounds as

Toronto’s two-game winning streak was snapped.

After DeRozan made one of two free throws to tie it with one

second left, Walker used a Jefferson screen to escape Lowry and hit

a fadeaway jumper on the inbounds pass, giving Charlotte wins on

consecutive nights for the first time since Nov. 5 and 6, when it

beat New York and Toronto.

”I guess there was a little confusion on the defensive end,”

Walker said. ”I just found myself pretty open. Josh made a great

pass. I had a second so I had a chance to kind of turn around and

set my feet and get a good shot up.”

Lowry credited Charlotte for drawing up a ”great play,” but

said it hurt to lose such a close game.

”You’d rather get blown out by 50 than lose on a buzzer

beater,” Lowry said. ”Hats off to them. Great shot by

Kemba.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said the defense had to be better on

the final possession, when Jonas Valanciunas was late on the switch

as Walker got free.

”We need to be more precise and have more attention to

detail,” Casey said.

With 15 seconds left in a fourth quarter that had seven lead

changes, Henderson made a pair of free throws to put Charlotte up

95-92, only to have Lowry promptly tie it with a 3.

After a timeout, Charlotte gave the ball to Walker for a

potential game-winning shot, but he was stripped by DeRozan,

sending it to overtime.

Charlotte led 102-99 with 19 seconds left in the extra session

when Henderson missed a pair of free throws. After DeRozan cut it

to one with a driving layup, Walker was fouled and also missed

both. DeRozan was fouled while shooting at the other end, missing

his first but tying the game by making the second.

”We kind of got lucky,” Walker said.

Walker made sure there wouldn’t be another overtime by catching

McRoberts’ inbounds pass and making an open jumper for the win.

”I, for one, am glad he made it, because I don’t think I had

enough wind for another overtime,” Jefferson said.

Charlotte came in as the league’s worst 3-point shooting team,

but made eight from beyond the arc for the second straight

night.

”If we could make eight 3s every game, it would help a lot,”

Clifford said.

Both teams shot poorly in the opening quarter, but Henderson had

seven points and Walker made a pair of 3-pointers as the Bobcats

led 18-15 after one.

Toronto was much better in the second, making 12 of 18 field

goal attempts. The Raptors took the lead with an 8-0 run to start

the quarter, and DeRozan scored 11 points in the second as Toronto

took a 47-37 lead into halftime.

Walker scored 11 points in the third and Jefferson had 10 as the

Bobcats closed the gap, knotting the score at 70-70 heading into

the fourth.

NOTES: The Raptors play five of their next six games on the

road. … F Chuck Hayes dressed for the first time since joining

Toronto last week in the trade that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento.

… Attendance was 15,201, a season low for Toronto.