CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats aren't content with just securing a playoff spot, they want to move up in the Eastern Conference before the playoffs.
If they play like they did on Tuesday night, they might just make it.
Al Jefferson scored 30 points, Anthony Tolliver added 22, and the Bobcats had a franchise-record 42 assists to earn a rare win over the Dallas Mavericks, 114-89 on Tuesday night.
"These guys, you can see it in their eyes. Now, we're playing for something and trying to reach our goals," Jefferson said. "I think we can have a chance to make a move when we come back from the All-Star break."
First, there is the matter of playing the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. The Nets are currently seventh in the East, 1½ games ahead of the Bobcats.
"It was really important to get this one and go to Brooklyn and beat a seed ahead of us," Jefferson said.
The Bobcats had lost 17 of 18 against the Mavericks, but scored 60 points in the paint and tied a season-high with 12 3-pointers. Charlotte's 42 assists on 45 field goals was the highest percentage (.933) in the NBA this season.
"We were able to make the right play and knock in some shots," said Josh McRoberts, who had a career-high 13 assists. "We shared the ball pretty well, and it helps when you're making shots."
Charlotte's relatively easy victory came on the night it was announced that the wife of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan gave birth to the couple's identical twin daughters.
Jordan's spokeswoman Estee Portnoy told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that Yvette Jordan gave birth to Victoria and Ysabel on Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Jordan missed his team's fine performance.
"I told them we couldn't lose concentration," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "We had games this year where we were down 16 or 18 points in the third quarter and we came back. In this league it happens all of the time."
But there was no comeback for the Mavericks.
Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and was taken to the locker room for observation. He returned in the second half and finished with 16 points in 25 minutes.