Tonight's game was a perfect example of some wisdom my grandfather always professed - "If Kyle Korver scores 20 or more points against you, you're most likely going to lose."
OK, so he didn't ever say that. But that doesn't make it any less true. When Korver scores 20 or more, his team is 30-11, including tonight's 101-84 Bulls win.
With the Gerald Henderson-led Bobcats clinging to life at the end of the third quarter only down by 6, Korver was the guy to push the Bulls to their 45th win (along with their terrific defense), sending the Bobcats to their 38th loss.
Charlotte started on the wrong foot, with Kwame Brown putting on his usual display of bobbling basketballs like they were electrified; D.J. Augustin shooting poorly and showing sub-par court vision; and a lack of rebounding.
But as bad as they were playing, Henderson hit a couple shots after missing his first two and Boris Diaw was efficiently scoring against the Bulls' formidable frontcourt. In one of the more surprising moments of the night, Henderson hit a 30-foot three pointer as the shot clock expired. Defensively, the Bobcats put Henderson on Derrick Rose, to little success as Rose still dropped 20 points and 6 assists, along with the rest of his crazy statline. But while Boris was able to post up Taj Gibson nearly at will, he had trouble keeping Gibson from snatching offense rebounds. The Bobcats ended the quarter only down three.
The second quarter was even better as Hendo settled into perhaps the best game he's ever had, scoring 9 points and dishing 5 dimes in the period. The bench made a welcome strong appearance, hinged upon the play of Dante Cunningham and D.J. White. Cunningham, who had disappointed so far, poured in 15 points and 6 rebounds (3 offensive) on the night. It was a welcome sight to see the face-up midrange jumper that we've heard about falling. White continued his striking durable play, rebounding well and adding 10 points of his own. Unfortunately, the Bobcats got next to no production from Shaun Livingston, whose midrange jumper that has usually been money in the bank failed to connect the whole game. However, the Bobcats still managed to keep the Bulls lead at three heading into halftime.
The third quarter was very similar to the first in that Derrick Rose was pretty much dominant. In the game preview I said that I wouldn't mind giving Rose looks from deep if it meant cutting off his drives to the hoop because he didn't have great range. I was wrong. Perhaps it's an outlier, but Derrick Rose's shooting from deep is much improved. He had four treys, which is four more than Augustin had.
But give the Bobcats credit; they hung tough with the Bulls despite Rose's incredible shooting from downtown. Utilizing strong ball movement and Henderson, the Cats refused to go away.
That is, until the fourth quarter. In the final period, the Bobcats crumpled, demolished by the Bulls swarming defense and Kyle Korver. Like most young teams, Charlotte just didn't have enough in the tank to keep up. Henderson simply looked out of energy and Livingston continued to struggle. Cunningham also had trouble sticking with Korver who got free seemingly at will for open threes. It didn't take long for the Bulls' susceptible six-point lead to fall out of the reach, leading to garbage time.
And as a final note, Augustin's play recently is really worrying me. He hasn't been able to score or distribute the ball well in a while.
TL; DR Version: Bobcats youngsters Henderson, Cunningham, White impress against strong Bulls squad
Comment of the Night:
You can see why Trading Wallace or Jack had to happen. Hendo needed to get starting minutes asap. He is only going to get better.
Also, if you missed it, check out Gerald Henderson's crazy circus shot from the third quarter. I think it's the play of the year.