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Bobcats take out Timberwolves

USA TODAY Sports Minnesota guard J.J. Barea prepares to drive to the basket as he is defended by Charlotte guard Luke Ridnour during the first half Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Center Al Jefferson put on another show with 25 points and 16 rebounds as the Charlotte Bobcats won their third straight, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-93 on Friday night.

The Bobcats erupted for 65 first-half points and led by as many as 16 in the first half, then kept the lead in double figures the entire second half. Their biggest lead came at 88-70 late in the third quarter.

The win was the Bobcats’ fifth in the last six games and moved them to 32-34. They have now won eight straight at Time Warner Cable Arena.

For Jefferson, it marked the 20th time this season that he has had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game, which established a franchise record.

The Bobcats also got 19 points from guard Gary Neal, including 16 in the first half. Forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller and Chris Douglas-Roberts and guard Gerald Henderson all scored 10 each.

The Timberwolves, who had won four of their previous five, fell to 32-32.

Guard Kevin Martin led Minnesota with 19 points. Forward Kevin Love finished with 18 and did not score in the second half. The Timberwolves also got 10 points each from forwards Corey Brewer and Dante Cunningham.

Charlotte’s 65 first-half points tied a season best. The Bobcats shot 54.2 percent from the field in the half and Neal went 5 of 7 with two 3-pointers as the Bobcats’ bench outscored the Timberwolves’ bench 33-10.

Charlotte led 65-53 at halftime and 88-75 after three quarters.

Notes: The Bobcats came into Friday night’s game at No. 7 in the Eastern Conference standings, 2 1/2 games behind No. 6 Washington and two games ahead of No. 8 Atlanta. They have a 5 1/2-game cushion over No. 9 New York. ... The Timberwolves came into the game No. 10 in the Western Conference standings, 5 1/2 games behind No. 8 Dallas. ... This was the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The Timberwolves won 119-92 in Minneapolis on Jan. 10. ... Bobcats G Gary Neal was back in action after missing the win at Washington on Wednesday because of what was termed an internal team issue. ... The Bobcats chose not to re-sign C Justin Hamilton when his 10-day contract expired at midnight Friday. Hamilton then signed with Miami on Friday. ... The Bobcats have not had C Brendan Haywood (stress fracture left foot) any this season and have lost F Jeffery Taylor (ruptured right Achilles) for the rest of the season. ... The Timberwolves were missing G A.J. Price (appendectomy) and C Ronny Turiaf (bone bruise right knee). ... The Bobcats will play at Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon and the Timberwolves will host Sacramento on Sunday night.