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Bobcats 94, Wizards 88

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WASHINGTON — Center Al Jefferson had 20 points and 18 rebounds and guard Kemba Walker scored five of his 17 points in overtime as the streaking Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Washington Wizards 94-88 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.

Guard Gary Neal scored 16 points for the Bobcats (40-38), who pulled even with the Wizards (40-38) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference despite guard John Wall’s triple-double. Charlotte blew a 20-point lead and needed Jefferson’s layup with 3.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

Tied at 87-87 entering the extra period, neither team scored until Walker sank a 3-pointer with 2:59 left, the only field goal in overtime. He tacked on two free throws and finished the game with 12 assists.

Charlotte clinched the season series 3-1, giving the Bobcats the playoff head-to-head tiebreaker.

Center Marcin Gortat had 27 points and 14 rebounds for the Wizards. Wall had 14 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Wall’s free throw accounted for Washington’s only point in overtime as the Wizards went 0 of 8 from the field.

Washington finished 1 of 15 overall from beyond the 3-point arc en route to losing for the third time in five games. Forward Trevor Ariza did not score, missing all six of his shots from the field.

Washington trailed by 50-30 in the second quarter and did not take its first lead until 5:28 remained in the fourth. Guard Bradley Beal’s jumper put the Wizards ahead 78-77 and Gortat’s layup with 9.9 seconds gave Washington an 87-85 lead.

Walker deftly fed Jefferson for a game-tying layup with 3.2 seconds remaining and prevented Wall from attempting a shot in the final seconds of regulation.

During Washington’s 25-6 run midway through the game, Charlotte missed 17 of 19 shots from the field and committed six turnovers before the crowd of 17,784.

Charlotte improved to 5-3 in overtime. Washington fell to 4-8.

Forward Trevor Booker had 16 points and a season-high five points for the Wizards. Forward Nene had 10 points in 17 minutes for the Wizards after missing the previous 21 games with a sprained left MCL.

Forward Josh McRoberts, who missed the previous three games with a left ankle sprain, had 12 points for the Bobcats.

Both teams have four games remaining in the regular season with an equal split of home and away.

NOTES: Washington went 12-9 with F Nene sidelined with a knee injury. He suffered a sprained left MCL on Feb. 23 at Cleveland. … Wizards F Trevor Ariza started after missing practice time earlier this week because of the flu. … Charlotte entered Wednesday’s game averaging the fewest turnovers in the NBA and ranked fifth in scoring defense after finishing 29th last season. … The Bobcats took the previous meeting 100-94 at Charlotte on March 31. … Charlotte plays the Celtics in Boston on Friday, the same day Washington visits the Orlando Magic.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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