Richardson, Bobcats hold off Timberwolves lateApr 9, 2008 - 2:43 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Jason Richardson scored 36 points to lead the hot-shooting Charlotte Bobcats to a 121-119 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night at the newly named Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Bobcats led wire-to-wire to earn their first season sweep over the Timberwolves in franchise history. Charlotte shot 62 percent (43-of-69) from the field, which was just short of the franchise record of 65 percent.
The Bobcats picked up their 30th win of the season and still have hopes of eclipsing their franchise-best 33 wins from last season. The Timberwolves dropped their fifth straight and seventh in their last eight.
"I'm just going out there and being aggressive," Richardson said. "I want to finish the season strong. I've tried to pick up the slack, too, with Gerald (Wallace) going down."
Al Jefferson tied his career high with 40 points on 18-of-24 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds to pace the Timberwolves, who clawed their way back late in the game.
They had the ball, trailing by one, with 12.8 seconds to play after a pair of missed free throws by Raymond Felton. But Randy Foye's pass into the lane bounced off the back of Jefferson and out of bounds.
Matt Carroll was fouled after the turnover and purposely missed the second free throw after connecting on the first attempt.
"I've never tried to miss one before," Carroll said. "So, I was a little nervous doing it, but it worked."
Jefferson missed a shot at the buzzer from the right baseline after the Timberwolves advanced the ball to midcourt with a timeout with seven-tenths of a second left to play.
"We should have scored on both of those possessions," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "We executed, but we didn't finish the plays."
Charlotte opened the game on a 19-10 run behind 15 points from Nazr Mohammed and Emeka Okafor. The Bobcats took their largest lead of the game - an 18-point advantage - on Mohammed's jumper with 7:29 to play in the first half and led 59-47 at the intermission.
"We just want to finish the season strong," Mohammed said. "It's about learning, getting better and making improvements for next year."
Minnesota made a strong run in the third quarter with 17 points from Jefferson and got as close as 71-67. Matt Carroll sank his first three of the game to spark a 10-0 run which appeared to put the game out of reach.
"It was a good team effort tonight," Carroll said. "We tried to come out and set the tone early, but they kept fighting all the way to the end and made it interesting."
Charlotte took a nine-point lead after the third, but Minnesota quickly whittled that down to just two points, 104-102, on a jumper from Foye. The teams continued to trade baskets until Carroll's second 3-pointer of the game pushed Charlotte's lead to 116-111.
The Bobcats played their first game in the newly named Time Warner Cable Arena after a naming-rights deal was announced between the two parties Tuesday afternoon.
CHARLOTTE 121 FINAL
Apr 8 9:31 PM
CHARLOTTE 94 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 8 8:50 PM
CHARLOTTE 59 HALFTIME
Apr 8 8:04 PM
CHARLOTTE 32 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 8 7:39 PM
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