CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Unable to get much lift off his sore right ankle, Bobcats center Al Jefferson figured it was time to make an adjustment.
So Jefferson made a conscious decision to try a new technique Tuesday night, jumping off both feet instead of just his right.
He never expected the results he got.
Jefferson scored a season-high 35 points, Kemba Walker had 12 of his 25 in the fourth quarter and Charlotte snapped the New York Knicks’ five-game winning streak with a 108-98 victory.
“It worked for me tonight - on my jump shot, on my jump hook. I just decided to try to do something different to get some lift,” said Jefferson, who acknowledged for the first time he’ll likely need surgery on the ankle after the season.
It was Jefferson’s best game since joining the Bobcats as a free agent this past offseason and more of what he envisioned when he signed a three-year, $41 million contract. When he wasn’t dominating in the low post, he was kicking the ball out to the wing and the Bobcats were knocking down shots, hitting 6 of 14 on 3-point attempts.
It came at a great time.
Coach Steve Clifford said he didn’t want any doubt to slip into his players’ minds after they’d lost three straight and eight of their last 10 games.
“That’s a professional win,” Clifford said. “That’s a win you can get on a plane and feel good about.”
Walker was 4 of 4 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. He also finished with seven rebounds and five assists.
The Bobcats benefited from the return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had eight points and seven rebounds after sitting out the last 19 games with a broken left hand. He also brought some needed energy on the defensive end.
“You can see value of having a guy like Kidd-Gilchrist,” Clifford said. “People don’t always understand the energy and intensity and those kinds of things. Those are skills.”
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (15-23) with 20 points and six rebounds.
Tyson Chandler returned to the lineup after missing four games with bronchitis, but wasn’t much of a factor. Chandler made both shots from the field and finished with five points and four rebounds in 16 ½ minutes.
“I felt decent out there,” Chandler said. “I was a little winded the first half but after that I kind of got my lungs together.”