Despite a relatively close struggle and a strong team defensive performance, the Bobcats lost yet another game to the New Jersey Nets on Friday night, by a final score of 83-74. More thoughts on the game, including a new analysis segment, after the jump.
Instead of my typical "General Thoughts" format that usually consists of a sentiment similar to, "Hey, the Bobcats lost again, but look at these lottery picks and occasional encouraging performances!", I thought I'd delve into this one in a positive vs. negative, pros vs. cons fashion.
Pros vs. Cons
Pro: The Bobcats lost by single-digits, and the game was relatively close throughout!
Con: The Bobcats lost their 33rd game of the season to one of the worst teams in the league, a team whose best player played only 15 minutes.
Pro: Not everyone played terribly! Bismack Biyombo played acceptably, and Corey Maggette had a fairly efficient scoring game!
Con: Most of the Bobcats' players struggled considerably.
Pro: The Bobcats' defense was constantly active, and generally effective. Along with forcing 13 turnovers, the Bobcats managed to hold the Nets to 36.1% shooting! The overall team effort was palpable!
Con: The Bobcats' offense scored 20 points or less in three of four quarters, and failed to capitalize on frequent open opportunities late in the fourth quarter.
Pro: Things are more likely to get better, however gradually, than not. The Bobcats are in the first year of a rebuilding process that will involve considerable time and a series of moves. With a few intelligent draft decisions (decisions that could be made easier with the first pick in this year's draft and Anthony Davis available), the team will grow and improve towards increasingly quality-filled seasons. With savvy GM Rich Cho at the helm, I'm confident the Bobcats are capable of moving in that direction.
Con: Currently, things are going excessively poorly for the franchise. The Bobcats are on track for a historically bad season and have few immediate trade assets.
Corey Maggette: Maggette (8-16 FG, 19 points, seven rebounds) has been the Bobcats' best player in recent games, and he provided another strong performance on Friday night. Maggette managed to capitalize on a few opportunities in transition and created opportunities competently for himself in the half court. Grade: B+
Tyrus Thomas: In limited time, Thomas played acceptably, but it seems as if it's been a considerable time since he last played definitively well. Grade: C+
Bismack Biyombo: Biyombo (4-10 FG, 11 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks) didn't have a particularly efficient night, but he rebounded well, defended well, and made three of four free throws. Grade: B
Gerald Henderson: The struggles were overwhelming for Henderson (2-13 FG, seven points) on Friday night, defined by a bevy of missed jumpers and ineffective drives. Henderson has been one of the best Bobcats' players, if not the best, this season, and a scoring performance like this is difficult to overcome for a team so reliant on his production. Grade: D-
D.J. Augustin: This was a largely lackluster game from Augustin (2-7 FG, six points), though he passed acceptably (eight assists), and defended the Nets' guards (namely Jordan Farmar) capably. Grade: C+
Eduardo Najera: I've grown to appreciate Najera's (4-8 FG, nine points, five rebounds, three steals) effort and (sometimes sporadic) decent production in recent games, especially tonight. Grade: B
Kemba Walker: This was a disappointing game from Walker. On nights when his jumper fails, it's important that Walker utilize his considerable ability to draw fouls to a full extent. He drew only one foul in 16 minutes, and made only one of six field goal attempts for three points. Grade: D+
Byron Mullens: Following a strong performance in the Bobcats' previous game against Utah, Mullens failed to make a single shot on eight attempts and scored 0 points in 18 minutes. This was likely his worst game of the season. Grade: D-
Reggie Williams and Derrick Brown: Both Brown (1-2 FG, two points) and Williams (2-5 FG, five points) provided forgettable, average performances in limited time. Grade: C+
D.J. White: White (6 points, 3-4 FG) played well in only six minutes of playing time. With Mullens' struggling, I would have liked to see him play more as the game waned to its unfortunate close. Grade B+