I don't know. I couldn't tell you why the Bobcats insist on winning the hard way on the road these days. Last time, they had to come back against the Raptors. On Friday, they had to do the same against the Pistons. Detroit posed a difficult matchup for the Bobcats, particularly in the front court. However, it looked like a winnable game coming in and although it was difficult at times, the Bobcats managed to pull through.
The Bobcats started the first half in a bit of a lull. They struggled on the glass, and were outrebounded on both ends. None of their shots were falling either, and they committed too many turnovers to negate the Pistons' own turnover issues. Even defensively, the Bobcats had their lapses. For instance, when Detroit's Josh Harrelson repeatedly knocked down long distance shots, he was left wide open time and time again, finishing the first half with 12 points. All of these issues caused the Bobcats' deficit to climb to as much as 15.
Kemba Walker finished the first half with an impressive 16 points and four rebounds, but the impact of the Pistons' front court was just too much. To compound the problem, the Bobcats' front court struggled to get going. Drummond and Monroe finished the first half with a combined 14 points and 10 rebounds on 8-13 shooting. In contrast, Josh McRoberts and Al Jefferson shot a combined 2-10 for five points and four rebounds. This was also indicative of a greater problem: no one could shoot. Yes, shooting 38 percent while your opponent shoots 52 percent is not conducive to winning. However, when you get outrebounded by such a large margin it's far more difficult to control the tempo of the game and get second chance points that are often high percentage looks.
If the Bobcats hoped to change their fate, they were going to have to make some changes in the second half, which they eventually did. However, things would get worse before they got better.
To begin the third, the Pistons got fast layups from Monroe and Josh Smith. With the game steadily climbing out of the Bobcats' reach, Kyle Singler hit a three to push the lead up to 66-53. The Bobcats would spend much of the third treading water, down by at least 10 points for the rest of the quarter and leaving everyone to wonder if they overexerted themselves in Toronto.
But then the fourth quarter came and things changed for the better.
The Bobcats remembered just how important rebounding is and closed what was a 15 rebound advantage for the Pistons to just three by the end of the night. Once the rebounding came, the Bobcats were able to assert themselves for the first time and as a result their shots began to fall, going from under 40 percent in the first half to over 50 in the second. Jefferson, who struggled mightily in the first three quarters, managed to get to the line for two key and-ones en route to a 15-point fourth quarter. But this was a team effort. Kemba continued to roll, Ben Gordon (I know, right?) hit the go-ahead three halfway through the fourth and even Cody Zeller had a pair of crucial offensive rebounds that led to second chance opportunities.
On Friday night, the Bobcats overcame what was a near-damning poor start and were able to put together a 66-point second half. They even held the Pistons to a 13-point fourth quarter. When it really counted, players stepped up. Jefferson managed to shoot through his early slump to put together a brilliant final frame, and enough cannot be said about Walker's 30-point performance. This was a night in which the Bobcats lost Jeffery Taylor to an Achilles injury, but were fortunate enough to have had Gerald Henderson's 22 point and seven rebound performance to fall back on. Even McRoberts -- who spent the entire night searching for his offense -- found a way to impact the game with seven assists.
In the end, this was a game that was not nearly as difficult as the Bobcats made it, but they found a way to put the first three quarters behind them and begin a new game in the fourth quarter. Well, a new game in which you are down 15, but they came together with defense, rebounding and making their damn free throws to pull away with a comeback win on the road.
I think I need to sit down now.