Fans of the Charlotte Bobcats, this is what you have been waiting to see. It wasn't flawless but it was effective. The Charlotte Bobcats beat the Dallas Mavericks for the first time...ever...in history...of the world. The Bobcats beat the Mavs for the first time in the history of the world tonight, 101-97.
As if doing something that had never been done wasn't enough, the Cats (I'm just going to go with it) played some basketball that Charlotte fans have been yearning for since the team made the playoffs in the spring of forever ago.
Here are some things that happened:
- Kemba Walker (26 point, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 8 steals) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal) were the players the Bobcats drafted. Both played 41 minutes and were scrumtrulescent.
- Walker was not only pressing the issue and winning on offense but he was making plays on offensive rebounds, deflections, and hustling to make a difference in a game where those things made the difference.
- Kidd-Gilchrist had his best game as a pro and he was everywhere. MKG made effort plays on both ends, but also made huge shots in the waning stages of the game and even converted at the free throw line late. The rookie has already been able to fill up the stat sheet, but seeing him contribute on offense and especially scoring is a thrilling and encouraging sign for Charlotte.
- Ramon Sessions was the veteran leader at point that D.J. Augustin never quite was. This is not meant to be a dig at Augustin who never did anything bad as a Bobcat. His time in Charlotte was always awkward, first backing up/playing alongside Raymond Felton, then mentoring/making way for Kemba. It was best for all that he move one so this isn't as much about him but there is a natural comparison. Sessions made plays tonight and none bigger than hitting a driving layup to tie the game with less than three seconds remaining in regulation. Sessions can make his own plays with the ball in his hands, something the Bobcats need.
- Byron Mullens was off from deep but got hands in on several plays to impact that game. Mullens was just 1-5 from three tonight. But he's been much better this season at being active, and at least being involved when not scoring from outside. Mullens grabbed 14 rebounds tonight, a career high, to go along with seven points.
- Brendan Haywood recovered from two potentially Bobcatty plays and contributed at the end of the game. Haywood mishandled two interior passes late, one with the Bobcats down two with 34.3 second to go. As much as he should have caught them, a lot can also be chalked up to familiarity. This group is still learning to play together, Haywood has not been asked often in his career to catch and deliver on the deciding possession of a game. The right play was made it just wasn't converted. However the vet made a huge play to cut the lead to two in the final minute of the game.
- DeSagana Diop: 1 steal, 1 block, 1 assist 1 rebound...every one of them important. Seriously.
The end of this game and overtime was crazy. It looked like the typical Bobcats game where they made a nice run but get beat. Vince Carter and O.J. Mayo certainly seemed to be cast correctly as they hit shot after shot in the fourth quarter. After giving up six three-pointers to Shannon Brown this week, Carter hit five against the Cats tonight but couldn't connect to end the fourth.
In overtime, MKG made more hustle plays, Sessions was steady with the ball, and the Bobcats outhustled the Mavs for rebounds on free throws and at the end of fast breaks.
Right now this team is playing as hard in the last quarter as it is in the first and even if this game had gone in the loss column, there would have been something positive to take from battling back from 15 points down.
But this one was a win. And it was the kind of win the Bobcats have been preaching. Kemba, MKG, Ben Gordon, and Sessions led the way. Whether or not the Bobcats make a huge leap in wins this year isn't clear, but this is a different team. Even without one of its steadiest (if not best) players in Gerald Henderson, the Bobcats made play after play tonight and wouldn't let the win slip away. As it should be, this team is leaps and bounds ahead of last year already. There is no quit in this squad, and now there is the sweet, sweet taste of sweet victory for the second time in a week.
It will likely take maximum effort and production form Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist, Gordon, and Sessions for the Bobcats to replicate this success. But it's nice to know it's possible and that they have help.
- The Bobcats won the turnover battle again tonight, 18-19, scoring 20 points off of Dallas' miscues
- Kidd-Gilchrist was 8-12 from the field and 9-10 from the free throw line tonight. He finished inside and looked strong with the ball on offense tonight.
- Walker was exceptional, again. The player seen tonight was much more reminiscent (if not the natural progression) of the one that lit up the NCAA tournament, than the passive rookie of a year ago. The energy from Walker when he doesn't have the ball might be the most encouraging element of all.
- Diop had a 1/1/1/1/.
- After a nice game last night Bismack Biyombo thudded back to earth tonight tallying only one block and one rebound and getting hopelessly lost on the worst ball fake ever.
- Jeffery Taylor (8 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 6 rebounds) played some nice minutes tonight and was the only Bobcat to play the entire first quarter.
|Final - 11.10.2012||1||2||3||4||OT 1||Total|