Walker lifts Bobcats over Raptors in OT
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Kemba Walker rescued the Charlotte Bobcats, who did everything in their power to force overtime and then almost everything to lose the game after that.
Walker hit the game-winning jumper as time expired to lift the Bobcats to a 104-102 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
When speaking of Walker, Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford said, "One thing, I'm just getting to know him, but he's a competitor and it's contagious because it carries to his teammates."
The UConn product finished with 29 points and Al Jefferson added 24 points and 11 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan poured in a game-high 30 points, Kyle Lowry scored 17 with six assists, and Amir Johnson registered a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds for Toronto.
Jonas Valanciunas also had 10 points in the setback.
The Bobcats held a three-point advantage when Gerald Henderson stepped to the line with 19.5 seconds left in overtime with the chance to put the game away, but he missed the pair to give the Raptors a chance.
DeRozan then hit a running layup with 12.8 seconds on the clock to pull the Raptors within one, 102-101.
Walker followed the DeRozan make by also missing a pair at the line.
DeRozan was fouled by Henderson with one second remaining but only made 1-of-2 to tie the game.
Coming out of a timeout, Walker curled off a Jefferson pick at the foul-line, received the inbound pass from Josh McRoberts and buried the 15-foot jumper on the baseline as time expired.
"Josh (McRoberts) made a great pass and I just set my feet and let it go," said Walker. "I was happy I made it."
Walker had 19 points in the second half and overtime.
"We had a heck of a screen (set) on Kyle (Lowry) and Vasquez by Jefferson," said Dwane Casey on the final play. "JV (Valanciunas) went away to him (Walker) and he made a tough shot over a 7-footer"
Toronto opened up a 16-point advantage early in the third and led 65-53 following a DeRozan jumper, but the Bobcats grabbed the lead courtesy of a 14-1 run. Jefferson and Walker each converted three-point plays during the spurt and the two teams were tied at 70 heading to the fourth.
Charlotte and Toronto went back-and-forth to open the final stanza. Walker hit a jumper to open the scoring, but the Raptors scored the next seven. Charlotte answered with a 10-4 run to regain the lead, 82-81.
Lowry then buried a triple and DeRozan hit a bank shot for an 86-82 advantage with 5:47 to play in the game.
The see-saw went in Charlotte's favor as Jefferson headed a 7-0 run. Jefferson hit a jumper on the near baseline with the shot clock running down which forced a Toronto timeout with 2:31 to go in regulation.
Toronto scored the next four when newly acquired Patrick Patterson tipped in a Johnson miss with 1:31 left to give the hosts a 90-89 lead.
Josh McRoberts made a layup with 31.9 seconds left to keep the pendulum swinging.
DeRozan spun through a couple of Bobcat defenders on the near baseline but missed the layup and Walker hit a pair at the line to extend the cushion to three.
After a quick two from Johnson, Henderson hit a pair to keep the one possession lead with 15.5 seconds remaining.
Lowry passed inbounds to Johnson, who dropped it back to Lowry, Lowry then hit another three from the top of the key to tie the game, 95-95, with 12.9 seconds left to force the extra session.
Both teams struggled out of the gate as the Bobcats led 18-15 after one, but the Raptors outscored the visitors 32-19 in the second for a 10-point advantage at halftime.
John Salmons scored 11 points off the bench for Toronto ... The Raptors shot 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) from three ... These two teams wrap-up three-game season series with the Bobcats in Charlotte on Jan. 20, 2014 ... Charlotte visits Detroit Friday, while Toronto travels to Dallas.
12/18 23:37:59 ET