PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Al Jefferson tried to explain how hitting his jumper forces defenses to change their approach.
“It keeps them on their toes, in my opinion,” Jefferson said before being cut off.
“It don’t change nothing,” reserve Jannero Pargo chimed in from two lockers down, “he ain’t going to pass the ball.”
Much like his first-half shooting, Jefferson’s retort was nearly flawless.
“Well if I pass it to you, I’ll get a turnover, because you’ll be on the bench,” he said.
With a one-liner about as sharp as his stat line, Jefferson had his Bobcats teammates howling. Jefferson had every reason to feel loose, with 25 points and 10 rebounds in Charlotte’s 123-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
“This is all the time,” a smiling Jefferson said of the locker room banter.
So are the big wins lately for Charlotte.
Perhaps Charlotte is getting hot at the right time, winning by 30-plus points for the second time in six games.
“Let’s hope there’s a couple more,” coach Steve Clifford said.
Gary Neal scored 15 points to help the Bobcats inch closer to a playoff berth.
The Bobcats (37-38) have the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference. They are 4½ games ahead of the eighth-place New York Knicks and need three wins in the final seven games to clinch their first playoff berth since 2010.
The Bobcats are counting on Jefferson to carry them deep into April - and possibly beyond.
“It falls a lot on me,” Jefferson said. “I’ve only been twice (to the playoffs), but twice is more than a lot of the other guys have been.”
The Bobcats raced to a 13-point lead in the first quarter, stretched it to 35 and never once let the Sixers threaten.