Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson continues to come up big.
One game after playing excellent defense on Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose and forcing the MVP candidate to miss a game-winning jumper at the buzzer, Henderson came through on the offensive end this time.
The second-year pro hit three consecutive jumpers late in the fourth quarter to help the Bobcats (17-24) to a 100-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (17-25) on Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Arena before a crowd of 14,326.
This was Charlotte second straight win, and Henderson has been huge in both victories.
Henderson’s first jumper with 1:40 left in the game gave the Bobcats a 92-91 lead over the 76ers. The Bobcats were able to get a stop when 76ers forward Thaddeus Young (21 points and six rebounds) missed a hook shot. On Charlotte’s next possession, Henderson hit a 20-foot jumper to push the lead to 94-91.
On Philadelphia’s next possession, Henderson fouled 76ers guard Andre Iguodala (19 points, five rebounds and five assists) while he was shooting a 3-pointer. Iguodala went two of three from the free throw line, cutting the Bobcats’ lead to 94-93.
But Henderson redeemed himself by hitting an 18-foot jumper with 26 seconds left in the game, which gave the Bobcats the lead for good. Henderson has emerged as not only a defensive stopper since interim coach Paul Silas has taken over, but he has also looked to score.
“It is a play we run all the time and coach didn’t really draw up anything, and I just came off that little down screen and the shoots were there, and I just took them, and I made them,” Henderson said about hitting three shots in a row on a baseline curl.
Henderson even admitted after the game he hit Iguodala on his 3-pointer attempt late in the final period. But he was happy to get an opportunity to makeup for his mistake on the next play. Henderson finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes, 35 seconds.
The Bobcats continue to get great play from point guard D.J. Augustin. He went four of four from the free throw line in the final 11 seconds of the game to seal the win.
The 6-foot guard had 25 points at halftime and finished with a career-high 31 points. He had a career-high 11 field goals too. He missed only six shoots while grabbing four rebounds and handing out eight assists. Augustin credited his play to having confidence and playing aggressive.
“I was just out there having fun, and everything was going pretty well in the first half,” Augustin said. “And we just played hard and won the game.”
Silas praised Augustin for carrying the team in the first half. He said the third-year guard is penetrating to the basket, which is something he didn’t do earlier in the season.
“His confidence is at an all-time high, and I like him going to the hoop and finishing,” Silas said. “And that kept us afloat the first half. And other guys picked it up in the second half and coming down the stretch who would you rather have on the free throw line. And D.J. made them, and it was a great win for us.”
Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas will be out for eight weeks due to a tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee. The team announced he will have surgery in a few days.
Thomas, who was a game-time scratch, was averaging 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game. Silas said other players such as Eduardo Najera and Dominic McGuire have to fill the void.