Minneapolis, MN – After squandering a 16-point lead, Kemba Walker saved the day for Charlotte, burying a game-winning jumper in the closing seconds to give the Bobcats an 89-87 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After the T'Wolves used a 16-2 run to tie the game at 87-87, Walker brought the ball up the court and held for the final possession. He shook the defender with a magnificent cross-over to create space and drained the pull-up jumper to give the Bobcats the lead with 0.7 seconds remaining.
For the game, Walker tallied 22 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds for the Bobcats, who extended their winning streak to three with the victory.
"It's a great win," said Walker. "Of course we don't like the fact that we let them come back, but it happens. For us to hang tough and get the win is huge."
Byron Mullens posted his second double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds, while Ramon Sessions chipped in 18 points and six assists off the bench for Charlotte, which led the game wire- to-wire.
Andrei Kirilenko posted a double-double for the injury-plagued Timberwolves. He scored a game-high 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the loss.
"There are a lot of games left, we just have to bounce back this weekend," said T'Wolves forward Greg Stiemsma. "It has to be a mental toughness thing. We have what we have and we'll make it work."
Walker knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Bobcats on top 85-71 with 4:22 left in the game, but the Wolves -- who shot just 38.3 percent for the game -- caught fire in the final minutes.
Minnesota scored 10 unanswered points to pull within four, then later cut the defecit to two on an Alexey Shved layup with less than a minute to play.
Following a Charlotte timeout, Reggie Williams was unable to find someone to inbound the ball to. With his thoughts racing, he called a timeout but the Bobcats had none remaining, giving Minnesota a technical free throw with 38.9 seconds left.
Luke Ridnour, who finished with 16 points and 10 assists, knocked in the foul shot to pull the T'Wolves within one at 87-86. However, on the ensuing Minnesota possession, Shved threw a bad pass that was intercepted by Sessions.
With Sessions breaking to the basket, Dante Cunningham fouled the guard, but Sessions missed both from the line to keep it a one-point game.
Charlotte got a stop, but Tyrus Thomas stepped out of bounds on the rebound and Minnesota retained possession.
After a foul called on Mullens, Minnesota's Derrick Williams connected on just 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 87-87 before Walker finished the T'Wolves off with a dagger.
The Bobcats led at halftime, 51-38 ... Minnesota's Malcolm Lee scored 10 points before leaving the game in the fourth with cramps. He did not return ... The Bobcats were without guard Ben Gordon, who was away from the team for family reasons ... Charlotte won three games in a row for the first time since a four-game run from March 25-30, 2011.