Jefferson scores 40, but Timberwolves lose 121-119

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jason Richardson scored 36 points and the Charlotte Bobcats avoided a collapse against one of the league’s worst teams to hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves 121-119 on Tuesday.

The Bobcats coughed up an 18-point, first-half lead and gave the lowly Timberwolves a chance to tie the game. But Al Jefferson, who matched a career high with 40 points, missed an open 19-foot jumper at the buzzer.

Matt Carroll added 22 points while filling in for the injured Gerald Wallace and hit a free throw with 1 second left for Charlotte, which shot 62 percent and completed a season sweep of Minnesota the hard way.

Jefferson hit 18 of 25 shots and added 10 rebounds, while Ryan Gomes scored 24 points and Randy Foye had 19 for the Timberwolves, who lost their fifth straight game.


The freewheeling matchup of lottery-bound teams featured plenty of open lanes to the basket and clean looks from the outside. Minnesota shot 52 percent, while Richardson was 5-of-8 on 3-pointers for Charlotte.

Minnesota, which dropped to 5-33 on the road, got within 120-119 on Jefferson’s half-hook with 15 seconds left.

Charlotte’s Raymond Felton was fouled with 13 seconds left and missed both free throws, giving the Timberwolves a chance.

But Foye ran into trouble on the perimeter. He jumped into the air and tried to whip a pass to Jefferson, but the ball bounced out of bounds. Carroll was fouled, then hit the first free throw and missed the second.

Jefferson, whose numbers had declined of late, somehow got free off the inbounds play in the frontcourt following the timeout, but couldn’t get the baseline jumper to fall.

The game came hours after Charlotte Bobcats Arena was officially renamed Time Warner Cable Arena, part of a complicated deal that got the Bobcats out of a poor local television contract with the cable company.

The small crowd and presumably larger TV audience didn’t see Wallace, who said he might sit out the final week of the season due to a groin injury.

Charlotte’s Nazr Mohammed negated Jefferson’s offense early by scoring almost at will against him in the post. Mohammed hit his first eight shots and Charlotte seemingly drove into the lane at will in building a 46-28 second-quarter lead.


The Bobcats then allowed Minnesota back in it by playing soft inside. Foye’s layup with 7:10 left in the third quarter cut Charlotte’s lead to 71-67.

Charlotte countered with a 10-0 run, only to watch Minnesota get within 104-102 on Foye’s jumper with 7:23 left.

Notes: An injury-filled end of the season has Wallace thinking he needs to take better care of his body. "I’ve been in the league seven years, and I’ve probably stretched twice," said Wallace, who indicated he’ll likely do pilates and yoga this summer. ... Timberwolves G Sebastian Telfair, who has been out for more than a month with a sprained left ankle, could play Friday at Orlando. ... Bobcats officials said it would take months before every arena sign is changed to the new name.

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