As was often the case, Charlotte's undoing was the inability to put together quality possessions in late-game situations. Still, despite some wasted possessions down the stretch, the Bobcats had a great opportunity to take a one-point lead when Kemba Walker drove down the right side of the lane. He put up a layup that rolled off the rim but found Al Jefferson who then missed two put back attempts before Trey Burke came down with the rebound.
Burke would go on to hit both free throws but there was still 10 seconds left for Charlotte to tie the game up with a three. The Bobcats put the ball in Walker's hands who was well covered and ended up taking a tough three-point shot, but Kemba followed it, wound up with the rebound and dished it off to Gerald Henderson who was a few feet to his right who hoisted up one last effort to tie the game. On a night of celebration of a new era starting next season it would end on a somber tone as Henderson's final shot was well contested and missed poorly.
It would be easy to point to the last few minutes of the game and point out mistakes that were made that cost Charlotte the game, but if you really want to look at where this game shifted, look no further than the end of the first half. After an Al Jefferson bucket gave the Bobcats an 11-point lead with 2:47 remaining in the half, Utah called for a timeout. Ty Corbin must have had some magic words because after the timeout, the Jazz started nailing treys. Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson and Trey Burke each hit a three on Utah's next possessions to shift momentum. By the time the clock struck zero the Jazz had cut the lead to four.
Utah continued to put the ball in the basket out of the break, but Charlotte's inability to get it going offensively allowed the Jazz to take the lead off a Burke jumper. Burke stole the show in the second half hitting big time shots with the shot clock winding down after the offense stalled. It was the type of performance we've seen Walker deliver but on this night it was the visiting point guard giving Kemba a taste of his own medicine.
The biggest shot of the night was delivered by the rookie. After Big Al tied the game with a dunk, Burke received a screen on the ensuing possession with the shot clock winding down and nailed a three with 2:38 remaining in the game. It would prove to be the winning shot of the game and it was one that occurred on a mental lapse by Walker. With the clock winding down he went under the screen instead of fighting through it, which allowed Burke a good look and he made the Bobcats pay. On the season he's been a subpar three-point shooter at 34 percent, but he had already nailed three in the game on seven attempts and has a knack for making shots in big moments.
Burke and Walker each tied for a game-high 20 points and had efficient shooting nights. Big Al finished with 19 and 11 in his first appearance against his former team. It was a typical night for him that Utah fans grew accustomed to seeing. Had he been able to put in Walker's late game miss it would have been the perfect story, but instead it will go down as a disappointing loss for Charlotte.
The loss snapped the Bobcats' three-game win streak and bid for .500. They'll get an opportunity to get back in the win column on Monday against the abysmal Bucks.