The Bobcats had a great start to the game. They led 21-14 at the end of the first quarter and looked like they were going to do whatever they wanted for the game. Then they went to their reserves. Whenever the Bobcats went to their bench, it was like a different team was out there. The offense stopped flowing and the defense was simply confused.
The most noticeable starter-to-bench difference was when Kemba Walker would leave the floor. Walker had a fantastic game shooting 11-for-17 with 28 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds. His speed forced the Celtics to pay as much attention as possible to him which opened up ball movement and great team basketball. The Bobcats just played better in general while Walker was on the floor.
The Bobcats also had a solid game out of Gerald Henderson. While Henderson had 20 points, it took him 17 shots to get there. That said, he played some decent defense.
I don't know if the Celtics bench was better than the Bobcats bench or if the Bobcats bench was just bad tonight but it had little a huge impact on the game. Former Bobcat Gerald Wallace scored 12 points more than his season average. Jeff Adrien was just there. Jeff Taylor was okay on defense but he had some issues with fouling. He had four fouls and I think that impacted him. The Celtics capitalized on the Bobcats wings' foul trouble and their bench contributed four treys on seven attempts from behind the arc. Their defense went through discouraging stretches of incompetence inside and out but Charlotte was never out of spitting distance of the Celtics despite plenty of mistakes on both ends of the floor.
Ramon Sessions and Cody Zeller were just bad. Sessions gives his best contributions getting to the rim and drawing fouls and using those opportunities to help create assists. Tonight he didn't do any of that. Sessions missed layups, coughed up the ball and didn't give the Bobcats any defensive help. Pretty much any time the Bobcats made up significant ground on Boston was when Walker was on the floor and the Bobcats dug deeper holes whenever Sessions was the sole ballhandler. It was a bit surprising to see Sessions in for half of the fourth quarter, but Walker had played all but 7 minutes and 38 seconds of the first three quarters. Sessions left the court in the fourth at about 5:38 remaining, with the Bobcats having extended their two-point third quarter deficit to an 11-point deficit.
I think a lot of our expectations for Zeller has gone down as the season has gone on but I'm really starting to get concerned with how uncomfortable and confused he looks on offense. There was a possession where Zeller got the ball at the top of the left wing behind the three-point line and I guess he was supposed to initiate the offense because everybody just kind of stood around and waited for him but he was a deer in headlights. Of course it's still November so this doesn't mean too much right now.
The Bobcats played okay but not well enough. The Celtics shot well from three and after they took the lead in the second quarter, they were largely in control (aside from one tie late in the third quarter, the Celtics never trailed after passing Charlotte in the first quarter. The Bobcats probably could have won but they didn't do much to help themselves. All told, it was a very mediocre game from two mediocre teams.