Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/2/12
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats made a commitment to point guard Kemba Walker during the offseason when they allowed D.J. Augustin to leave as a free agent. It was a huge boost to the 6-1 Walker's confidence, and the second-year pro has been a different player throughout the preseason. It showed as Walker led the Bobcats to a 90-89 season-opening victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. He scored a career-high 30 points, and carried the Bobcats through three quarters to put them in a position to win at the end. They ultimately held on when Augustin missed a 3-point attempt from the corner at the final buzzer that would have won it for the Pacers. "I feel like my coach believes in me; I can go out there and be as confident as I can be," Walker said. "It's all about trust. It's all about confidence. When I'm confident, my teammates are confident and we just make things happen. So my coach having trust in me is definitely a huge deal." The victory gave new coach Mike Dunlap a victory in his debut and snapped the Bobcats' 23-game losing streak at the end of last season. The Bobcats were an NBA-record worst 7-59 last season under Paul Silas. "Man, it was a huge win," Walker said. "We got that monkey off our back early. I don't think we went into the game thinking about the losing streak. We just went into the game thinking about all the hard work we put in this offseason to get to this point. We just fought hard. We stayed together through the tough times of the game and we won." Dunlap wasn't about to downplay the significance of the win. "The most important thing was to kill the elephant," Dunlap said. "Our elephant was the losing streak, and to get that off everybody's back in this entire organization from the city to whatever, it's just one of those marks you want to clean off the board. We're happy we got away from that. And away from that was some gritty play tonight." Walker, whose previous career high was 23 against Golden State last Jan. 14, finished 10-for-21 from the field and 9-of -10 from the line. He also had five rebounds, three assists and one steal in 33 minutes, against just one turnover. He had 16 points in the first half, and then erupted for 12 in the third quarter when the Bobcats came back from a 43-39 halftime deficit to lead by as many as eight. "That's what he's capable of doing," teammate Ramon Sessions said. "When he's playing his game, you're going to see games like that." "Coach has told me to be aggressive and stay aggressive," Walker said. "Early in the game I think I took two shots and stopped, and he told me whenever I get to the free-throw line or got a mid-range jumper to keep on taking it. He told me don't stop taking it. I was just fortunate enough to be making them tonight." The Bobcats also got 18 points from Gerald Henderson, 11 from Sessions and 10 from Ben Gordon. Tyler Hansbrough and Lance Stephenson came off the bench to lead the Pacers with 15 points apiece. David West scored 16 but was 7-of-17 from the field, as the Bobcats played a variety of zones to limit his effectiveness. West had scored 25 points in the Pacers' 90-88 season-opening victory at Toronto on Wednesday night. The Pacers were without last year's leading scorer, Danny Granger, who continues to be sidelined by a sore left knee. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Granger "continues to get second opinions" and that there is no timetable for Granger's return. The Pacers had won seven straight road games dating to last season before Friday night, so they clearly had confidence going down the stretch. But a 24-second shot-clock violation in the final minute cost them their first chance to take the lead, and then Augustin missed at the buzzer after Walker had missed a jumper for the Bobcats with 17 seconds left. "We turned the ball over too much at the end," Indiana's Roy Hibbert said. "We had two or three turnovers that cost us. It's disappointing, but it's only the second game of the season and we're playing short-handed right now. We can't get too high or too low over one game. We just have to learn from this and move on." Charlotte will play at Dallas on Saturday, while Indiana will return home for its home opener against Sacramento.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Westbrook gets emotional thanking family in MVP speech

Malcolm Brogdon makes history by beating out Saric, Embiid for Rookie of the Year

Bill Russell delivers epic line after winning NBA lifetime achievement award

Draymond Green ensemble at NBA Awards must be seen to believe

Victor Oladipo gets schooled by young boy at basketball camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall trying to recruit Paul George to join Wizards

Report: Saints looking at ways to recoup guaranteed money owed to Nick Fairley

Martellus Bennett thinks Rodgers is better than Brady?

Fairley expected to miss 2017 season due to heart condition

Cousins could get more than $30 million per year in free agency?

Charlie Sheen puts Babe Ruth trade contract, World Series ring up for auction

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker