Roundup: Jefferson, Bobcats overpower Pacers

Bobcats center Al Jefferson reacted after a second-half play.
Joshua S. Kelly/USA Today Sports
Bobcats center Al Jefferson reacted after a second-half play.

Al Jefferson had a pretty good inkling it was Charlotte’s night when he banked in a 31-footer from well beyond the top of the key to beat the shot clock midway through the fourth quarter.

‘‘I didn’t call the bank, but I trusted my right hand,’’ Jefferson said with a laugh.

Jefferson scored 34 points and the Bobcats stunned NBA-leading Indiana, 109-87, Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C., handing the Pacers just their second two-game skid of the season. Jefferson was 16 of 25 from the field and had eight rebounds for the Bobcats, who won their fifth straight at home to equal their combined win total from the previous two seasons.


‘‘I'm not accepting that we’re a team that guys look at on the schedule anymore and say, ‘OK, we have the Bobcats (so) we can take the night off.'’’ Jefferson said.

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‘‘I think everybody needs to question the Eastern Conference voting on why Al Jefferson wasn’t on the All-Star team because clearly he is one of the best in the game,’’ Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ‘‘He showed it tonight. Give him credit.’’

Charlotte was finishing a brutal four-game stretch, becoming the first team since the 2009-10 Knicks to play the NBA’s top four teams in consecutive games. They previously lost to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Miami on the road, but left no doubt about this this one.

Charlotte jumped out to a 28-8 lead after the first quarter and never trailed. Kemba Walker added 19 points and nine assists for the Bobcats.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said he thought his team played well in the three previous road losses.


‘‘We played a lot of good basketball and you get nothing for it,’’ Clifford said. ‘‘To be honest, we took a day off [on Tuesday] and you could tell from our shootaround, not that we were going to win, but that we were going to play well.’’

Rockets 101, Magic 89 — James Harden scored 31 points, including 25 in the second half, and visiting Houston dug out of a double-digit, first-half hole to beat Orlando.

The Rockets dominated inside, outscoring the Magic, 58-26, in the paint. Dwight Howard added 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Houston trailed in the second quarter by as many as 14 points, but battled back to win for the 13th time in 15 outings.

Nets 103, Grizzlies 94 — Joe Johnson scored 21 points, Marcus Thornton came off the bench for 20, and host Brooklyn powered its way above .500 for the first time this season. Jason Collins played 17 scoreless minutes on the day he signed his second 10-day contract.


Bulls 105, Pistons 94 — D.J. Augustin scored 26 points off the bench and Joakim Noah had a triple-double as Chicago handled host Detroit. Noah finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Knicks 118, Timberwolves 106 — Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points to help visiting New York snap a seven-game losing streak.

Wizards 104, Jazz 91 — Trevor Ariza scored 26 points, Bradley Beal added 22, and host Washington took an early lead and never lost it, shooting 54 percent in beating Utah.

Kings 116, Bucks 106 — Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points and had six assists to lead Sacramento past host Milwaukee.

Nuggets 115, Mavericks 110 — Wilson Chandler scored 21 points, Ty Lawson had 20, and host Denver topped Dallas to snap a six-game losing streak.

Trail Blazers 102, Hawks 78 — Mo Williams scored 15 points off the bench to lead host Portland in a rout of Atlanta.