So, how does a team come back from a 45-point beat down earlier in the week? Let me remind, again, that the team dishing out that beat down was an NBA Finals team. Unlike last season’s Bobcats, they come back to lose by only 3 points in the Hawks house. The final score was 94-91. It was a great game to see, even though I was stuck on the phone for most of the second half, trying to get my internet service restored. We need to realize that the Eastern conference is weaker than it has ever been. Part of that is due to trades, injury, etc., but it is what it is. The Charlotte Bobcats are a young, fun to watch team that is showing the world that last year was a fluke, and not the norm. NBA basketball is alive and well in North Carolina. Read on Bobcats Fans…
Last year, a loss like we suffered against the Thunder would have been just another loss. Another blowout sustained, and another game closer to lotteryland. This year is different. New coach, new team, new colors, and new culture make up the 2012-2013 Charlotte Bobcats. Coach Dunlap really has got these guys playing beyond what was expected. You have 2 rookies that have come in and really shown that they are almost NBA-ready. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was expected to have a big impact, but Jeffery Taylor has become a pleasant surprise for us. He was my pick at media day to interview (I did a lot of observing, and not a lot of interviewing) because while the spotlight was on MKG, no one was really talking to Taylor. I also picked him because seeing him play in Summer League had be fully believing he was the absolute STEAL of the draft (Bobcats front office, do you agree?) This guy has stepped up in so many ways. Henderson went down with injury, and Taylor has filled the void quite nicely on both sides of the ball. He’s started many of our games so far this season, and aside from occasional foul trouble, he’s been a great fill-in. He has excellent defense, hustle, a beautiful shot, and great athleticism. He’s done such a good job, in fact, that when Henderson comes back, I almost will wonder how much longer he might be a Bobcat. I mean, we didn’t extend him an offer, so I have to wonder if his days are numbered. I’m not going a great deal into that one, but if you look at facts, Taylor is playing basketball at a level that would reflect where he should have been picked in the draft (my take was somewhere in the early to mid-20s). When asked if the team was developing ahead of schedule, Dunlap simply answered with a “yes they are”. I’ll save trade discussions for another article, but I’d keep them in the back of my mind right now because if we were to make playoffs, the rebuild process will come to an abrupt halt in terms of picking up talent in the NBA draft. We’d have to move players just to get a 1st round pick. The season’s young, as I have mentioned, so as for playoff talk, I’ll wait to discuss that area as well.
We had a weak 1st quarter and a strong second quarter, Ben Gordon spring to life and over the stretch of the 3rd and 4th quarter. As I stated before, I did lose internet service last night, and I spent all of the 3rd and half of the 4th on the phone, trying to get service back, so that is why the brief recap is here this morning. Basically, the only thing I wanted to state was that the only reason we lost the games came down to bad pass that could have gone either way. One bad in-bound pass cost us the game. With a little over 5 seconds left in the game, the Bobcats needed to in-bound the ball and try to get a 2-point shot. We were down 1 point, so the stage was set for someone to take a shot to win the game. A simple pass was thrown, and Josh Smith barreled out to steal it. Problem was that as he came up for that steal, he ran into Kemba. He didn’t run over him, but he bumped him enough that Kemba couldn’t get to the pass, and Smith also couldn’t get to it. It was reviewed over and over to see if perhaps Smith’s fingers touched the ball. The reality was that we were in their house, and the only call that could have been made was a loose ball foul on Smith, but it really wasn’t sold well enough by Kemba to draw that foul. I guess he didn’t want a “flopping foul”. At any rate, the result was a turnover, and a Bobcats foul on Al Horford. 2 foul shots later, the Bobcats were down 3 with 4.1 seconds left. With no timeouts remaining, they had to force the ball in, and the 3rd choice to take the 3 had to shoot. Gordon flashed by, then Kemba. Mullens was the tall guy that could catch a high pass in, and he was able to take a couple dribbles. With no one being able to get open, he had no choice but to take a shot off of the dribble. His defender backed off as he stopped to shoot, and Mully was just a hair strong on his shot. It was a hard fought game, and we really showed just how much we are improving. Our rookies and sophomores are really looking good, and our veteran acquisitions are filling in the gaps greatly. Once Henderson comes back, we’ll be in great shape. I can’t seem to find any information as to how close Henderson is to returning, and that concerns me. When a starter isn’t being talked about, that can sometimes point to a trade. I guess we’ll all see when the time comes.
Here are some numbers from last night’s game:
Gordon = 26pts / 4rebs / 3 assists / 1 steal
Sessions = 18pts / 8 assists / 2 rebs / 2 steals
Walker = 15pts / 5 assists / 5 rebs / 1 block
Mullens = 10pts / 9 rebs
Biyombo = 6pts / 8 rebs / 4 blocks
Our rookies were a bit quiet last night, but both put up respectable numbers. Taylor had 5 fouls, which slowed him down a bit, and MKG had some trouble in the paint, but both did what they normally do, which doesn’t show up on box scores.
Trade Street Post Game-breaker award goes to Ben Gordon, who has nights where he just looks incredible. Last night was one of those nights. He hit a 3-pointer in double coverage last night…it was just incredible. Honorable mention goes to Bismack Biyombo, who is starting to show why he’s here. 8 rebounds and 4 blocks is a great set of stats for him. His offense will come in time, and I can settle for him on the boards and netting blocks for now.
The Bobcats return home for a game tomorrow night against the Sixers. Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for some great ticket deals. Come on down to Trade Street and welcome out Bobcats home. Cheer them on to a victory. Lets’ Go CATS!