The Bobcats outplayed the Cavaliers in most ways tonight. While never a blowout, Charlotte always looked like they had control of the game. They were almost always in the lead and the few times they weren't, it was never too large a deficit for them to overcome. Whenever the Bobcats would go up by 10 or more points, Cleveland would always make an effort to come roaring back and close the gap.
The Bobcats' second unit was one of their only weaknesses. Gary Neal went 5-10 but didn't make a single long range basket. He had a tough time shaking his defenders. The same can be said for Luke Ridnour, who has struggled as of late. A large part of that was Dion Waiters constant defensive pressure. He caused a lot of issues for Ridnour. We might have to start thinking if Jannero Pargo is a better option at point guard off of the bench.
While Waiters may have been causing problems on the defensive end, he wasn't doing much damage on the offensive end. It took him 18 shots to get 19 points.
Save for Luol Deng (who scored 19 points on 8-15 shooting), there isn't anyone else on the Cavs who had a good game against the Charlotte's stingy defense. Kyrie Irving struggled all night long and only scored 13 points on 17 shots. Tristan Thompson went 5-9 for 10 points and snagged 8 rebounds but was unheard of on defense.
Of course, it was really his fault as he was guarding Al Jefferson for much of the night. Jefferson continued setting 2014 on fire by scoring 28 points on 12-18 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds, and blocking three shots. He also made a crucial defensive play when he knocked the ball out of the Cavs hands and forced a turnover with just over a minute left in the game.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, however, Kemba Walker was moving the ball all over the place and recorded nine assists in the first half alone. He finished the game with 14, and also scored 20 points.
Despite most of the Bobcats putting up good numbers, there were still some things they did not do well. Their defense, while good, could have been better. While not every game will be perfect, the defense of the second unit in particular would just falll apart too often. The Bobcats' offense also became stagnant and the players looked confused at times. Instead of moving the ball, they opted to take difficult shots on many possessions. Had the Bobcats been playing a better team, this could have led to much bigger problems.
Charlotte still managed to win so I can't complain much. It was a good victory for the team that gives them the tie breaker with Detroit and Cleveland, two teams currently behind them in the playoff race.