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Question of the Day
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - After two disappointing losses, the Charlotte Bobcats bounced back in a big way.
“It’s a good win for us, and a good bounce back,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. “They’re an exceptional offensive team, but you could tell our guys were ready to play from the start of the game. When guys came in off the bench, they were ready as well.”
The Bobcats shot 52 percent from the field (49 of 94), outscored the Trail Blazers in the paint 54-32 and held a 50-36 rebounding advantage over Portland, which had won its last four games against Charlotte.
But the Trail Blazers, playing without leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge, could never get on track against the Bobcats, trailing by as many as 34 points late in the second half in losing for the first time in their last three games.
“That’s when we’re at our best,” Jefferson said. “If you look at all the big wins we’ve had, especially at home, we had a great start. You could tell in shootaround today that we were focused, we were locked in and we knew that we needed this win tonight.”
Damian Lillard scored 20 points, Dorell Wright added 17 and Wesley Matthews 15 for Portland, which shot 40.5 percent (34 of 84) and made just 9 of 27 3-pointers.
That allowed the Bobcats to bolt to an early double-digit lead, extend it to as many as 26 points late in the first half, then weather a half-hearted Trail Blazers comeback attempt early in the third quarter.
“They shot the ball well, passed the ball well, rebounded the ball well, defended well and basically outplayed us,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “We certainly could have played better, but they were clicking on all cylinders.
“You don’t want to just dismiss it as one of those games. You want to learn from it. But losing by 30 points, we don’t have the luxury not to play better.”
Down 69-46 at the half, the Trail Blazers cut Charlotte’s lead to 17 points three times in the third quarter, the last at 77-60 on Matthews’ layup with 6:22 left. But Jefferson hit a jumper, followed by a 3-pointer by Walker to push the Bobcats' lead back past the 20-point mark, and Portland never challenged again.
Charlotte took its biggest lead of the game in the final two minutes behind its reserves, with Jannero Pargo’s 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining putting the Bobcats ahead 122-88.
After missing its first two shots of the game, the Bobcats hit 11 straight - four by Jefferson, three by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and two each from Henderson and Walker - to pull ahead 23-9 with 5:03 remaining in the first quarter.
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