Just one night after finding out that he'd been left off the Eastern Conference All-Star roster, Bobcats center Al Jefferson used the Los Angeles Lakers to remind the league that he is the best low post scorer in the NBA.
Matching a career high with 40 points to go along with 18 rebounds Jefferson led Charlotte to a 110-100 victory on Friday night, capping off the best month big Al has had in a Bobcats uniform.
January saw Jefferson score 20 or more points in 11 straight ball games, which includes a streak of 30 or more points he extended to three games after Friday night's prime time performance.
The Bobcats improved to 21-27 on the season matching their win total from a year ago, with 34 regular season games remaining thanks mostly in part to the dominance of Jefferson. While point guard Kemba Walker has missed the last six games with a severely sprained ankle, the ten year veteran has led Charlotte to a 4-2 record in his absence.
Jefferson did not have much to say after learning that Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert had been selected to represent the East at the center position in New Orleans on All-Star weekend, but his game spoke volumes as he continuously scored on two and three Lakers at a time, giving the Bobcats a 12 point cushion through three periods.
With 16 points in the fourth quarter, big Al put an end to any threat the Lakers had of mounting a comeback and when he wasn't scoring, he was finding a teammate slashing to the hoop for an easy bucket. Gerald Henderson who added 20 points in the ballgame, benefited greatly from the attention Jefferson received on the low block.
The Lakers who were without their core of key players like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Xavier Henry have lost six straight and have fallen to 16-31 on the season which qualifies them for second-worst in the West, just ahead of the Sacramento Kings.
The Bobcats will now look to get a third straight road win with a trip to Phoenix on Saturday when they face the red hot Suns who got their fourth consecutive victory in Indiana on Friday night. It is a game-time decision for Walker whether he will be ready to return to the lineup for Charlotte.