The Charlotte Bobcats needed a win over a struggling Orlando Magic team on Friday night to get their 2013-14 NBA season back on track. Coming into the contest, the Bobcats had lost four of their last five games and nine of their last 11. As a result, the Bobcats sat at ninth in the Eastern Conference coming into the game.
Charlotte started the contest strong, winning the first quarter by a score of 30-18. However, they squandered that in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing by one. A strong, solid second half effort from Charlotte helped them regain the lead and garner their 17th victory of the season by a score of 111-101.
One of the big reasons that the Bobcats were able to get on track was another strong performance from center Al Jefferson. While Kemba Walker and Josh McRoberts both were key in the win, Jefferson’s 30 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block while shooting 13-17 from the field was monstrous for this team.
Jefferson has been on a tear recently for Charlotte. Over the last four games, in which the Bobcats have a 2-2 record, Jefferson has averaged 27.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and one block per game while shooting 60.8 percent from the floor. Moreover, the notoriously bad defender prior to this season has helped Charlotte allow just 99 points per 100 possessions when he’s been on the floor over the past four games.
Jefferson coming on strong is big for the Bobcats, especially at this juncture. This is about the part of the year when the Bobcats have fallen off over the past couple of seasons. They’re going to need a veteran presence like Jefferson to come in and stabilize this young team and keep them playing at a high level. Though there’s a tough stretch ahead, he’s been doing just that for them as of late.