Bobcats hold court against Kings

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.comDecember 17, 2013 

The Charlotte Bobcats matched a season high with eight 3-pointers and held off the Sacramento Kings 95-87 Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points for the Bobcats (11-14) and Gerald Henderson added 20. Backup point guard Ramon Sessions finished with 16 points and six assists.

The Kings got 30 points, 17 rebounds and six assists from center DeMarcus Cousins.

After an 18-point lead shrunk to as little as two, Bobcats center Al Jefferson put his team back ahead by eight with about six minutes left on a jump hook. This was Jefferson’s first basket of the second half. Jefferson posted up a minute later, drawing a third foul from Cousins.

Jefferson fouled out with just under two minutes left and the Bobcats ahead by eight.

The Kings (7-16) lost recent acquisition Rudy Gay in the second half to right knee soreness. After averaging 25 points in his first two games with Sacramento, following the trade from the Toronto Raptors, Gay finished Tuesday with four points off 1-of-6 shooting.

The Kings cut the Bobcats’ sizeable first-half lead to four several times in the third quarter before the fourth quarter started with the Bobcats up 78-72.

It took nearly three minutes of the third quarter before the Bobcats scored. Then point guard Walker got hot, making 4-of-5 shots for 10 points. Walker’s Sacramento counterpart, Isaiah Thomas, also had a big quarter with 11 points on 5-of-9 from the field.

Late in the third quarter Bobcats rookie forward Cody Zeller was charged with a flagrant foul off a collision he had with Kings forward Quincy Acy. However, a video review of the play reduced it to a regular offensive foul.

The Bobcats led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter before going into halftime leading 56-43. They shot 50 percent from the field, getting 14 points from Henderson and 10 points and five assists from backup point guard Ramon Sessions.

The Bobcats’ biggest problem in the first half was containing Cousins’ low-post moves. Cousins made 7-of-9 first-half shots and got to the foul line four times, scoring 18.

The Kings are undergoing a midseason makeover. They’ve already traded for Gay and Derrick Williams in the season’s first two months.

The only King other than Cousins to do any damage offensively in the first half was forward Jason Thompson with seven points. And he was 2-of-9 from the field. Rookie lottery pick Ben McLemore missed all three of his first-half shots and played only nine minutes before halftime.

Jefferson, who has post scoring skills similar to Cousins’, had a quiet six points and four rebounds before halftime.

Henderson got the Bobcats started, scoring 12 of Charlotte’s first 23 points.

The Bobcats now leave on a two-game road trip, playing at the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and at the Detroit Pistons on Friday.

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