Walker, Jefferson lead Bobcats past Kings

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The numbers say that the Charlotte Bobcats have one of the worst offenses in the NBA. But coach Steve Clifford's eyes are telling him that those numbers may start trending up, especially now that center Al Jefferson is back and clicking with point guard Kemba Walker.

Jefferson scored 27 points, including 10 straight for the Bobcats in the final five minutes, and Charlotte snapped a five-game losing streak with a 113-103 victory over the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena on Saturday night.

Walker also had a huge night, producing a game-high 30 points on 12-for-19 shooting and making four big shots in the third quarter to keep the Kings at bay. Charlotte shot a season-best 54.2 percent from the field and ended a four-game road losing streak.

The Bobcats also topped 100 points for the second straight game and for the sixth time in its past 10, a step up for a club that topped the century mark only three times in its first 25 and was ranked 28th in the NBA in points per game (92.6) entering the contest.

"Kemba was terrific and Al really carried us when we needed it in the fourth quarter," Clifford said. "Since Al came back, the offensive is improving quite a bit. That was the best offensive game we've played."

Center DeMarcus Cousins was a beast again for SACRAMENTO, with 26 points and 11 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season. But the Kings fell to 0-2 on their five-game homestand and have not won consecutive games at home all season.

Point guard Isaiah Thomas added 21 points and made at least one 3-pointer in his 26th consecutive game for the Kings, and forward Rudy Gay added 17 for SACRAMENTO. Forward Jason Thompson had season-best totals of 15 points and 14 rebounds.

SACRAMENTO's issues did not revolve around offense. The Kings have scored at least 100 points in 11 of the 12 games it has played since they acquired Gay in a multi-player trade from Toronto last month, and three have combined to average about 65 points per contest.

But the Kings have won only four of those games and have surrendered at least 100 points in 11 of them. Overall, SACRAMENTO has surrendered at least 100 points in 15 of its past 16 contests and are 28th in scoring defense.

"We have to get better," Gay said. "We're a better defensive team than the way we're playing. We just have to learn how to do it consistently."

The Bobcats had 89 points by the end of the three quarters and never trailed after blitzing the Kings with a 17-0 run over a 4-minute span at the end of the first half.

"Defensively, we made their guys move the ball to third or fourth options," Jefferson said. "That's one of the better offensive teams in the league over there, so to hold them down like we did, that's good for us."

Jefferson's efforts in the fourth quarter were vital, too. The Bobcats led 103-96 after he knocked down two free throws, and were up 107-99 after Jefferson made back-to-back shots in close, one of them a running hook. When he knocked down an 18-foot jumper and a 10-foot hook, the lead was 111-101, and the game was decided.

"It was big for me," he said. "I wasn't real good in the second and third quarters, and I spent the third quarter on the bench telling myself that when I got back in, I had to help seal the game. Luckily, I got hot."

Now the challenge for Charlotte's offense will be to stay warm.

"I like what we're doing," Clifford said. "I really do."

NOTES: Bobcats G Kemba Walker played in his 183rd straight game. He and Warriors G Klay Thompson are the only two players from the NBA's 2011 draft who have not missed a contest. ... Walker and C Al Jefferson each scored in double digits for the 21st time in the past 22 games for Charlotte. Their 20-game streak, second-longest in Charlotte history, ended Thursday at Portland. ... Kings C DeMarcus Cousins entered the game with six 30-point games, but SACRAMENTO was only 2-4 in those games. ... Kings G Jimmer Fredette was coming off a 15-point game for SACRAMENTO, his top scoring output since he scored 16 against Cleveland on Jan. 14, 2013. ... The Bobcats own an overall winning record against the Kings (10-8 before Saturday) since entering the league in 2004-05, one of only two franchises against which they can claim such a boast. Charlotte also is 12-6 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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