The Charlotte Bobcats got a much-needed road win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night coming off the heels of a tight 95-92 loss to the Philadelphia Sixers in the final seconds just two nights before.
Al Jefferson who led Charlotte with 30 points and 16 rebounds, put the Cats on his back in the second half and reminded fans why he was signed in the off season.
The Bobcats built a generous lead in the first quarter, lapping Orlando by as many as 18 points but the Magic were able to rally and take a 53-52 lead at the half. Charlotte came out firing after the break, putting together a 14-4 run in the third quarter led by Jefferson to put his team back on top.
"Coach called my number and my teammates needed me to deliver," Jefferson said "the spacing was great on the floor and it gave me the room I needed to operate down low and make plays".
Jefferson scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half, causing the Magic to double and triple-team him at times which led to four other Bobcats scoring in double figures on the evening. Kemba Walker (19), Gerald Henderson (17), Josh McRoberts (17) and Ramon Sessions (10) kept Orlando off balance and picking their poison most of the night.
Jefferson has now scored 30 or more points in two of his last three games after posting 35 in a home win over the Knicks on Tuesday, putting to rest any doubts about lingering issues with the ankle injury that hobbled him at the beginning of the season.
Charlotte will now get set to host a Miami Heat team that just snapped a three-game losing streak against the Sixers on Friday.
Saturday will be the Heat's final trip to Charlotte after downing the Bobcats (17-24) twice this season, including a 97-81 win at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 16.