Jefferson Excels as Bobcats Down Celtics 89-83

Bringing to a halt Boston Celtics’ four-game winning streak, Charlotte Bobcats – riding on a superb show by their star player Al Jefferson – went on to score an...

Bringing to a halt Boston Celtics’ four-game winning streak, Charlotte Bobcats – riding on a superb show by their star player Al Jefferson – went on to score an impressive 89-83 win, in a game that saw fortunes fluctuating both sides in equal terms, but finally favoring the team that was mentally stronger when it mattered the most.

Making life miserable for the Celtics, Jefferson cut loose to score as many as 22 points and record 11 rebounds to ensure that his team had the measure of their opponents on Wednesday night. Forced to sit out for five straight games on account of an injured right ankle and playing only his second game on return, Jefferson stood between success and the Celtics in the final moments of the game.

Expressing happiness over being part of a team that finally came to stop the Celtics in their tracks, Jefferson said he could have still come up with a better game. “I still missed a lot of shots I normally would make”, he said, adding “I’ve got to get in better shape. I know there’s a reason that I’m not in top shape. That’s the only bad thing about getting hurt in the beginning of the year.”

More to Come From Jefferson

Bobcats’ first-year coach Steve Clifford was, however, full of praise for Jefferson. “He’s an elite low-post scorer and he’s a much, much better defender than I had realized”, he said. He hastened to add: “”…but the thing that’s coming through now as you watch him is his competitiveness. He badly wants to win.” For someone who has been only into his second game after getting two stents placed in the heart just a week ago, Clifford must be quite pleased with the result.

On the other hand, Celtics coach Brad Stevens looked quite disappointed with his team’s poor show that prevented them from moving forward with a five-win record. Although Stevens had very little to complain about the Celtics performance in the later half, he was not happy with the way things took shape in the first. “We did a better job towards the end of really clamping down and protecting the paint. I didn’t think we did a very good job of that in the first half.”

Bobcats Appeared Quicker

Not ready to agree with the scoring pattern of the game that gave an impression as if the Celtics were offering a tough fight to Charlotte all through, Stevens said the Bobcats appeared quicker all the way. “They were just quicker to the basketball all night. In every which way, and I thought they did a great job right out of the gate establishing a tone of the way the game was going to be played and it was hard for us to manage that as we moved forward.”

The Bobcats were always ahead, keeping the Celtics at bay when it came to leveling the scores. Leading 71-64 at the end of the third quarter, Charlotte found stiff resistance from their rivals, who put in everything to break the Bobcats’ strong defense to inch closer. With 5:30 to go, neither of the teams managed to score for a couple of minutes until Jefferson came up with a short jumper that took Charlotte to the top and helped widen the lead. Although Jeff Green brought Boston to 85-80 with hardly 1:30 left, the Celtics could not do much in the dying moments. After Crawford took the score to 85-83, Jefferson once again returned to seal the game in favor of the Bobcats taking advantage of a miss from Kemba Walker.

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