Walker saves Bobcats after timeout error
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
The Charlotte Bobcats can’t lose. Weird, we know.
It wasn’t for lack of trying Wednesday in an 89-87 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Backup swingman Reggie Williams called a timeout with 38.9 seconds to go and the Bobcats’ lead trimmed from 14 to two. Seems like a good idea, if, you know, you have timeouts left.
The Bobcats didn’t. We call that Chris Webber-ing.
So Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour promptly made a technical free throw. Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions seemed to save the day by coming up with a steal with 29 seconds left. He then drew a foul with a chance to give the ‘Cats an 89-86 lead with 27 seconds left.
And he missed both. On Charlotte’s next possession, Tyrus Thomas stepped out of bounds. Shades of last season, when the Bobcats went 7-59 for the worst winning percentage in NBA history.
That’s when Kemba Walker stepped up. The second-year point guard made his reputation at the University of Connecticut, where he hit clutch shot after clutch shot en route to the 2011 national championship. Walker is fearless, which is why the 6-footer went right at 6-6 defender Alexey Shved.
Using a quick drop-step, Walker found the space he needed to launch an 19-foot jump shot that fell through the net with 0.7 seconds left. Ridnour heaved a shot to win from the other side of the court, but it missed, and the game was over.
It was like he was back in college again.
“Tonight, you can say that,” Walker said. “It felt like one of those days. I had a lot of game winners in my college career. It definitely felt like one of those days.”
But Walker is turning the 4-3 Bobcats into winners. He had team highs with 22 points, five assists and four steals Wednesday and averages 19.0 points a game. Charlotte is playing stingy defense with a huge frontcourt led by 7-foot starters Brendan Haywood and Byron Mullens.
Minnesota’s big men shot 4-for-20 from the field as the Bobcats blocked 12 shots.
They are a work in progress, as the near-choke proves. But they’re winning.
“It’s a lot better learning in a win, I … [For more on Kemba Walker saves Bobcats after Webber-esque timeout error, click here.]