CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ When a team is struggling as badly as the Charlotte Bobcats are these days, a team can have the type of disjointed effort the 76ers had Monday night and survive, which is what they did in a 98-89 victory that sent the Bobcats to their 15th consecutive loss.
The Sixers needed some late-game heroics at Time Warner Cable Arena, including a Lou Williams 28-foot three-pointer that gave them a 96-86 lead with a little less than 30 seconds remaining to secure their 20th win of the season.
The Sixers needed just 29 games to get to 20 wins this season. Last season, they needed 45 to reach that number.
Williams led the Sixers with 23 points off the bench. Thaddeus Young came off the bench for 20 more, and Jrue Holiday finished with 19.
Corey Maggette led the Bobcats (3-25) with 22 points. Kemba Walker added 21.
The Sixers appeared as if they might have an easy night early on and led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter.
But after Walker hit back-to-back three-pointers, the second with 6 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the game, the Sixers' once nice buffer was reduced to 81-79.
The Sixers used a five-point spurt that included a 16-foot jumper by Holiday, a Young free throw, and a nice up-and-under layup by Nik Vucevic to restore their lead to 89-81 with 2:53 to play.
The Bobcats cut it to 91-86 on Reggie Williams' layup, but Vucevic countered with another layup with a little less than a minute remaining to give the Sixers a 93-86 lead.
The Bobcats haven't won a game since they defeated Golden State on Jan. 12. They are by far the worst offensive team in the league, and they have really suffered at the offensive end in recent games without their best scorer, Gerald Henderson Jr.
Henderson averages 15 points per game. Monday's game was the fifth in a row that he has missed because of a hamstring injury, and it's been reflected in the Bobcats' lack of offense. Before Monday's game, Charlotte had lost its last six by an average of almost 25 points.
With Holiday making all five of his field-goal attempts in the first quarter, when he scored 11 points, the Sixers took a 28-17 lead into the second quarter.
They took their largest lead of the first half when Williams converted a three-point play with a little more than nine minutes left in the second quarter. That extended their lead to 35-20.
The Bobcats stayed in the game because of the scoring of reserve center Byron Mullens. Mullens, who scored two points in the first half, added nine in the second quarter. As a result, the Bobcats collected a respectable 28 points in the quarter and trailed by 55-45 at the end of the half.
The Sixers took a 63-49 lead on Elton Brand's 13-foot jumper with 8:47 left in the third.
But they played lethargically the rest of the quarter, allowing the Bobcats to crawl back into it. Charlotte closed out the third quarter outscoring the Sixers by 18-8 and trailed by just four points going into the fourth quarter.
(c)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer
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