Gerald Henderson stripped the ball from Philadelphia 76ers forward Evan Turner, setting up a breakaway layup with 26 seconds left, and helping the Charlotte Bobcats an 88-83 victory Wednesday.
Kemba Walker finished the job with two free throws with 21 seconds left after Jrue Holiday missed on a 76ers drive. The win made the Bobcats 18-57 The Sixers, still with faint playoff hopes, fell to 30-44.
Henderson finished with 24 points, and Walker added 17 points and 10 assists. Power forward Josh McRoberts had 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
Henderson hit an 18-footer with 33 seconds left to push Charlotte ahead 84-83 after Philadelphia’s Damien Wilkins made one of two free throws.
The Bobcats quickly tied the score during the third quarter on baskets by Walker and Henderson, then they pushed out to a 64-61 lead entering the fourth quarter. Tyrus Thomas took a pull-up jumper late in the third for the margin.
Walker, usually a shoot-first point guard, was more a facilitator with nine assists through three quarters. He made a particularly impressive pass behind his back in transition, avoiding a blocked shot and finding Henderson for a dunk.
The Bobcats came back from a 16-point deficit early in the second quarter to trail 45-40 at halftime. This was a sloppy half for both teams, with the Bobcats and 76ers combining for 24 turnovers. The Bobcats got in trouble late in the first quarter and early in the second when Philadelphia ran out on a 13-7 run.
One of the stranger exchanges during that span was Thomas, back in the rotation, bouncing a tomahawk dunk attempt off the back rim. The ball caromed to half court. Reserve forward Dorell Wright swished a 3-pointer early in the second quarter in helping to push Philadelphia’s lead to 35-19.
But the Sixers cooled as suddenly as they heated up. Philadelphia shot just 7-for-22 during the second quarter. The Bobcats made 10 of 20 attempts from the field during the same span.
Reggie Williams, a seldom-used reserve for Charlotte, scored five second-quarter points. Over nine minutes, the Bobcats chipped that 16-point deficit to as little as three.
The Bobcats played without power forward Byron Mullens (sore ankle) and guard-forward Jeff Taylor (strained plantar fascia). That meant extra minutes for Thomas in the front court and Williams and Ben Gordon in the backcourt.
The Bobcats will be at home Friday against the defending champion Miami Heat before a Saturday road game vs. the Brooklyn Nets.