Jefferson leads Bobcats over 76ers 111-105

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm •  Published: April 12, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Steve Clifford isn't exactly singing his team's praises after the Bobcats won for the sixth time in seven games.

In fact, the first-year head coach said he's a little concerned about his team's focus as the playoffs approach.

"We haven't been the same team the last two games," Clifford said. "Whether we exhaled after clinching (a playoff spot), or whatever it is, I don't know. Whatever it is, we have two games to get it back."

The Bobcats held on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 111-105 on Saturday behind 29 points and 12 rebounds from Al Jefferson, but it was far from an impressive victory.

The win came on the heels of a costly loss at Boston Friday night that dropped the Bobcats back to seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Charlotte (41-39) remains one game behind Washington in the race for the sixth seed with two games left. The Wizards defeated Milwaukee 104-91 on Saturday night.

Jefferson said the Bobcats need to find their mojo with two tough games coming up to close the season — at Atlanta on Monday night and at home against Chicago on Wednesday.

"I thought (the loss to Boston) would wake us up for this game, but I don't know whether it was a back-to-back, three games in four nights or what," Jefferson said. "... You could tell we were low energy. But we found a way to win, so that's the positive side of it."

You can't blame Jefferson for the team's sudden funk.

He has at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in each of the last six games, a franchise record.

Luke Ridnour, starting in place of injured point guard Kemba Walker, had 12 points and eight assists in his first start for Charlotte.

Clifford said he expects Walker to return from a groin injury Monday night. But he expressed plenty of confidence in Ridnour to handle the role when needed.

"We're organized when Luke is in there," Clifford said. "He gets guys into their right spots. He has a high basketball IQ and he knows the NBA game."

Michael Carter-Williams had 23 points and eight assists to lead the 76ers, who have lost 16 of their last 17 games on the road.