For three quarters, the Bobcats stayed with Indiana, now the league's best team at 14-1. After the fourth quarter concluded, you would never think this team was even close in this game (if you didn't watch it). A 39-22 fourth quarter by the Pacers with 15 points from backup point guard C.J. Watson demoralized the 'Cats.
It all started well for Charlotte. The usual stingy defense from Steve Clifford was there, holding Indiana to under 30 percent shooting through the first three quarters. The offense was staying with Indiana, but went ice-cold for way too many stretches of this game.
That brings me to this point: should we begin to panic about the offensive woes of Charlotte? Not yet, but I am close to pushing the panic button.
Before Wednesday night, the Bobcats came in as the 29th-ranked team in points per game at 89.4. That number is sure to drop after the 74-point clunker against Indiana.
Whatever the issue is, it needs to be fixed for the Bobcats to have any hope at making the playoffs this season. The defense will be there for them on most nights, but they have to fix that achilles heel of an offense sometime soon.
Now, lets get into my player grades for Wednesday's game.
Kemba Walker: Outside of a perfect night at the free-throw line (7-7), Walker was horrendous from the field. Finishing 3-for-17, it was one of Kemba's worst offensive nights of the season. Walker also had three turnovers on the night and finished with a +/- of -25 (!!!), which is absolutely horrendous. Sorry Kemba, but you are getting one of the worst grades of the night. Grade: D
Gerald Henderson: No surprise, another grotesque performance shooting-wise for Gerald Henderson. This time, he finished 3-for-15 with 10 points on the night. Lance Stephenson was able to lock him down on the perimeter all night, and nobody dared to go inside against the mountain that is Roy Hibbert. Going against Indiana's defense, it was no shock to me that the guards would play bad -- but I did not think it would be this bad. Chalk up another bad grade. Grade: D
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Given the tough task of defending Paul George, Kidd-Gilchrist did well. He held George to 15 points on 6-for-15 shooting. On the offensive end, MKG was his usual self: a non-factor. Kidd-Gilchrist had five points and seven rebounds in his 34 minutes of work. You would like to see Kidd-Gilchrist be more aggressive on the offensive end, but it is ho-hum for most Bobcats' fans to look at in the box score. It was not a great night, but not horrible for MKG. Grade: C+
Josh McRoberts: McRoberts' role on the court is to provide energy and scoring on the offensive end. He did not provide any spark on offense tonight, though. He only played 18 minutes due to foul trouble (five fouls), and was 2-4 from the field. Also, McRoberts was 0-4 from the free-throw line. McRoberts did little on the court tonight, and he did nothing on offense. For those reasons, he gets a bad grade. Grade: F
Al Jefferson: Jefferson did well tonight. Finishing with 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks -- he also was above-average against Hibbert on the defensive end. He held his ground, which caused Hibbert's signature hook shot to rim-out a ton. Another plus for Jefferson was his aggressiveness on offense. He was not afraid to go toe-to-toe against Hibbert, as he took 15 shots. These are the types of performances I expected from Jefferson when Charlotte signed him this summer. Grade: B+
Ramon Sessions: Another aggressive night for Sessions on offense. He pushed the pace when he was in the game, even if it did not show on the stat sheet. One bad note is that he was absolutely torched by Watson when Sessions was defending him. Watson finished with 18 points, all from behind the arc. Grade: B-
Jeffery Taylor: This was an inefficient night for Taylor on offense. He finished with only four points on 2-for-7 shooting. His +/- was also pretty bad at -12. Also, he struggled with foul trouble all game, as did a lot of Bobcats. The bench under-performed, which were one of the many reasons Charlotte faltered the last 12-15 minutes of the game. Grade: C-
Cody Zeller: Hey, look, another Bobcats' player with five fouls! There were three of them on Wednesday. Zeller was a culprit of that, but he was active all over the floor. In 19 minutes, Zeller finished with 7 points on 7 shots (maybe a little inefficient). Zeller attacked the glass too with six rebounds. If he did not end up struggling with foul-trouble, Zeller might have been on his way to a great night. Grade: B-
Anthony Tolliver: Yikes. Tolliver finished 0-for-4 in his 16 minutes of action. I am starting to get worried with Tolliver's struggles on the offensive end. Even though it is in short minutes, Tolliver has been ineffective as a floor-spacer. He is only shooting 34 percent this season. That is likely why Jeff Adrien has leapfrogged over him in the rotation for awhile now. Grade: F
Bismack Biyombo: Biyombo finally got some minutes tonight, but they only came due to most of the bigs getting in foul trouble. He was active out there flying for rebounds and drawing fouls down-low. Biyombo finished with four points and four rebounds in 11 minutes. I have to say that Biyombo was impressive in his short amount of time on the court Wednesday. Grade: B
Jannero Pargo: Once the game was out of hand, Pargo got his usual five minutes of garbage time. He was aggressive out there -- going 2-for-3 and finishing with five points. I am not surprised by Pargo's short burst on offense. Who would not want to start getting aggressive when your team is down 25 points, and you are still trying to find a niche in the rotation? Overall, it was a nice five minutes for Pargo. Grade: B
Jeff Adrien: As some of you twitter followers of the Rufus On Fire account saw before the game, I was looking forward to seeing the aggressive Jeff Adrien going against David West and Hibbert. Unfortunately, the refs and both of the bigs' veteran savvy got in the way of that. Adrien picked up three quick fouls in the first half. After that, we did not see Adrien again. Wednesday night was a terrible night for Adrien. Grade: F
Falling to 7-9, the Bobcats are still in the playoff hunt this early into the season -- due to the horrific play of the Eastern Conference. Next game, Charlotte plays the Milwaukee Bucks at Time Warner Cable Arena on Black Friday.
From all of the writers at Rufus On Fire, I wish all the readers a Happy Thanksgiving!