WASHINGTON — Center Al Jefferson scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the surging Charlotte Bobcats pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 98-85 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Charlotte went on a decisive 19-3 run in the fourth.
Guard Kemba Walker had 16 points and backcourt partner Gerald Henderson added 13 for the Bobcats, who won for the fourth time in five games. Henderson missed the previous five games due to a strained right calf.
Neither team led by more than six points until Charlotte (31-34) took control with 11 straight points in the final period.
Guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist each contributed 10 points for the Bobcats.
Guard John Wall scored 23 points for the Wizards, though none came in the fourth quarter. Washington (33-31) lost its second game in a row and fell to 16-16 at home this season.
Guard Bradley Beal scored 18 points for the Wizards, and center Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wizards attempted only nine free throws, making six. Charlotte shot 17-for-22 from the line.
The Bobcats improved to 13-20 on the road. Last season, they won six games away from home.
After trailing 77-75 with 8:30 remaining, Charlotte soon jumped in front for good on a free throw by forward Josh McRoberts, then padded the lead on four consecutive free throws by Walker. The final two followed a technical foul called against Wizards coach Randy Wittman and put Washington behind 87-80 with 4:34 remaining.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s two free throws capped the run as Charlotte led 94-80 with 2:07 left.
Charlotte was whistled for 11 fouls, just two in the first half. The Bobcats outrebounded Washington 44-37 before a crowd of 17,720.
Most times a late-season matchup between the Southeast Division foes meant jockeying for draft-lottery position. This campaign, both teams are poised for a playoff berth, which would be the first for Washington since 2008.
Charlotte’s lone postseason in the franchise’s 10 seasons came during the 2009-10 campaign. The Bobcats won a combined 28 games the past two seasons.
NOTES: Both teams shot 20 of 43 (46.5 percent) from the field in the first half. … Bobcats G Gerald Henderson replaced Chris Douglas-Roberts in the starting lineup. … Washington C Kevin Seraphin was active after missing the previous seven games with a sore right knee. … Wizards PG John Wall, who leads the NBA in total assists, added five Wednesday. …Washington coach Randy Wittman coached Bobcats F Al Jefferson when both were with the Minnesota Timberwolves. … The Southeast Division foes meet two more times this season: March 31 in Charlotte and April 9 in Washington. … Charlotte hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, the same day Washington plays at the Orlando Magic.
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