OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Al Jefferson had 30 points and 13 rebounds, Gerald Henderson added 17 points and eight rebounds and the Charlotte Bobcats blew past the Golden State Warriors 91-75 on Tuesday night in Kemba Walker’s much-anticipated return.
Walker finished with seven points, seven assists and six rebounds after missing the last seven games with a sprained left ankle. He played 33 minutes.
The Bobcats controlled the game from the start, going ahead by 18 points late in the third quarter and 22 midway through the fourth. Charlotte, which shot 47.4 percent, held the Warriors to a season-low 31.2 percent shooting.
Stephen Curry had 17 points and 11 assists against his hometown team, Klay Thompson scored 12 and Andrew Bogut grabbed 15 rebounds for the Warriors, who have been held below 38 percent shooting in three of their past four games.
The Warriors briefly gave their announced sellout crowd of 19,596 something to cheer for when Marreese Speights made a half-court heave as the third quarter expired to slice Charlotte’s lead 72-57. Any hope quickly faded when Anthony Tolliver hit a pair of 3-pointers to put the Bobcats up 78-60 lead with 9:51 remaining.
The Bobcats closed out their road trip 3-1 and handed a streaky Golden State team another stinging setback.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson publicly called out his team last month for playing down to their opponents too often this season, especially at home. Apparently, his players still haven’t received the message.
The Bobcats (22-28) swept the season against the Warriors (29-20) after beating Golden State 115-111 in Charlotte on Dec. 9. And out West, they outhustled and outshot the Warriors from the start.
Charlotte ran Golden State’s prolific shooters off the 3-point line, forcing them into difficult mid-range jumpers. The Bobcats were equally efficient on the offensive end, going ahead 26-13 after the first quarter.
The Warriors simply looked lost and lethargic. They hovered just above 20 percent shooting for most of the first half, and their usually loud crowd stayed mostly silent.
The Bobcats went ahead 44-27 with 3:42 left in the second quarter and 51-39 at halftime. It was only the third time all season the Warriors had been held below 40 points in the first half.
Golden State trimmed Charlotte’s lead to eight early in the third quarter on Thompson’s 3-pointer. Bobcats coach Steve Clifford called timeout to regroup his players, who responded by building an 18-point lead before Speights hit a halfcourt shot as time expired to bring the Warriors within 72-57 entering the fourth.
That was pretty much the only celebration Charlotte allowed.
NOTES: The Warriors’ worst shooting performance before Tuesday was when they shot 35.5 percent in a 105-83 loss at Houston on Dec. 6. … Warriors backup center Jermaine O’Neal had nine points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes in his first game since Dec. 9 at Charlotte. He missed 26 games recovering from surgery on his right wrist. … The Bobcats don’t play again until hosting San Antonio on Saturday. … The Warriors host the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
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