Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Al Jefferson had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Charlotte Bobcats over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 96-94 Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena to clinch a playoff berth.
Kemba Walker had 20 points, seven assists and three steals; Cody Zeller added 12 points and 11 rebounds; while Gerald Henderson scored 15 for the win.
The Cavs led 21-17 after a period before rally capped by a Walker 3-pointer at 3:10 of the second made it 34-31 for the Bobcats.
It also sparked an 11-3 run that resulted in a 45-34 advantage for the Bobcats early in the third.
The Cavs quickly answered with an 8-0 bast to close in at 45-42.
The Bobcats managed to hang on the lead until the Cavs outscored them 12-2 to steal back the lead at 63-58.
It was back-and-forth for most of the fourth quarter with Walker’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining in regulation giving the Bobcats an 82-80 lead.
But Kyrie Irving’s jumper 7 seconds later tied the game.
Another Irving basket gave the Cavs an 89-86 lead with 1:55 remaining in overtime, but Jefferson hit a free throw and Gerald Henderson’s basket gave the Bobcats a 90-89 lead with 1:08 remaining.
The Bobcats (39-38) made four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
They are over .500 for the second time this season and hold seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs’ slim playoff hopes suffered yet another damaging loss despite a career-high 44 points from Kyrie Irving who went was 16 of 31 from the field, including five 3-pointers. He also had eight assists and seven rebounds.