The Charlotte Bobcats did just about everything right in the first half.
They led by as much as 19 points in the first quarter and went into halftime with a 49-33 lead.
But the Utah Jazz chipped away at the 16-point deficit. Jazz guard Deron Williams hit a game-winning floater in the lane with 0.8 seconds remaining in the game to defeat the Bobcats 96-95 on Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena before a crowd of 15,486. The comeback left a down mood in the Bobcats’ locker room, and coach Larry Brown pointed out the obvious.
“They got 63 points in the second half,” he said. “We got jump shot happy, and we didn’t make a shot, except for Nazr (Mohammed) down the clutch. We had some good looks, and they did a great job executing. They made shots. We were up 16 points coming down on a break and took a three and had a layup. From there on, it just kind of took over. I don’t think we got a loose ball all night, and that was a game (in which) all those loose balls they got on the floor.”
The Bobcats had opportunities early in the game to push the lead into the 20s, but the Jazz always found a way to get a basket or a stop to hang around. Brown credited Williams for making a good shot to win the game and said guard Stephen Jackson (24 points, six assists and five rebounds) did a good job guarding the All Star.
Brown notes the game was lost before the Williams’ shot because the Jazz made “effort plays” throughout the game, executed in the fourth quarter and never quit.
Despite the Bobcats blowing a huge lead, they still had a chance to put the game away late in the fourth quarter. But point guard D.J. Augustin was trapped by Williams going up for a layup, and the ball went off his leg. The Bobcats were leading 95-94 with 24.3 left in the game, and that is when Williams took over.
When asked if he thought Augustin was fouled by Williams on the drive to the basket, Brown answered the question with a question.
“What do you want me to say?” he said. “That wasn’t the game. It took us so long to get into anything. You hope you get something better than that.”
The Bobcats didn’t get a shot better than that, and the Jazz won their fifth straight game. While the Bobcats two game winning streak is over. The Bobcats had a great effort from Mohammed, who scored 22 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and had four block shots.
“It’s a very, very tough loss because it’s not like it’s a secret that (Utah) has been coming back on teams,” he said. “They’ve come back the last four games on teams, and we were talking about it all game. We knew what they were capable of, so that’s what hurts the most. We knew that they were capable of it, and we still let them come back and get us.”
Augustin (12 points and 10 assists) said Mohammed played great. He said Mohammed’s play helped make the game easy for everyone.
But that wasn’t good enough because the Jazz were able to overshadow Mohammed’s second career 20-20 game with good games from guard CJ Miles (14 points, three assists and six rebounds), power forward Al Jefferson (19 points, six rebounds and three blocks) and center Paul Millsap (17 points and six rebounds).
“We haven’t panicked,” Williams said. “We just keep fighting. We know we’ve still got a chance. When we’re down 20 we talked about getting it down to 10. When we got it down to 10, we were like, ‘Let’s get it going.’ So we did.”
Bobcats Notes: Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas missed the game because of a death in his family. He is expected to play Monday night’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Guard Gerald Henderson didn’t play because of soreness in his left knee.