The Miami Heat were in town this late December night in Charlotte as the Bobcats looked to make it two in a row!
The Heat are playing their third game in four days and the Bobcats hope to exploit their unfortunate scheduling. Kemba Walker will match up against a fellow rookie, Morris Cole, as he comes off of a successful game against Boston and one of the leagues best defenses. Charlotte looks for it's young talent to rise up early in the season and make this a memorable game. The Bobcats fought hard and shouldn't feel down about this 96-95 loss to the Heat.
The first quarter was AAAALLLLLLL...Bobcats? That's right, the Bobcats opened up with stingy defense and efficient team oriented offense lead by none other than DJ Augustin. DJ was everywhere where there was a play happening as he continually made a mockery of Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers. DJ White and Boris Diaw did a wonderful job keeping the defensive pressure up and adding some high percentage points. Honestly, the only negative point for the Bobcats in the first was Corey Maggette's shot selection and the fact he missed them all. The Bobcats shot 54% in the opening salvo. At one point the Bobcats lead 11-0. They finished the quarter strong at a score of Charlotte 32 and Miami 20.
The second started out with a lot of the same. The Bobcats continued to do things right as the second string came in and took over where the first left off. The Heat did not score until the 9:40 into the second when the score was 36-22. Kemba took over where DJ did; attacking the Heat and looking to get his teammates involved. Bismack Biyombo got his first real contributions as a Cat in getting a number of rebounds and one SERIOUS block (and then a foul on the put back) on Chris Bosh. The Heat got a few things going as Lebron James hit a number of circus style shots to keep the Bobcats from getting up by a serious margin. Right when it looked like the Heat were making a run the Cats struck again as DJ Augustin hit a couple of crucial three-point shots (not to mention the walk-off three before the half) to keep the Bobcats up by 15 going into the break.
The Bobcats opened the third not quite how they wanted. Losing 2 bad turnovers and letting the Heat right back into the game. It was the defense of DJ White, and the shooting of Gerald Henderson and Boris Diaw that put the lead right back into double digits as the Heat had quickly taken it down to nine. It was a battle royale on each end of the floor as the Cats tried to hold together the lead they had worked so hard to create. DJ White had a spectacular block that fueled another small Cats run. The Heat answered right back as they climbed back into single digits. The Bobcats fell apart in the latter part of the third and couldn't find their game as Lebron James single handedly picked apart the Cats. Despite the wonderful moves by Kemba Walker, the Bobcats simply could not handle the Heat. The Ice Age had returned as the Cats could only muster 10 pts in the 3rd.
The fourth was a back-and-forth for much of the quarter which neither team being able to pull away. Bismack Biyombo added yet another highlight reel block and Kemba Walker NAILED a clutch three with the shot clock expiring. Dwayne Wade brought the ball down the floor and committed a charge on Kemba (if it wasn't a charge, Bismack had ERASED the shot anyway). BJ Mullens continued to show his worth as he knocked down three consecutive shots to help the Bobcats get some order back to the game and shore up a small lead in the middle of the fourth. The Heat came back strong with a number of foul shots by Lebron. The Bobcats led until just under 7 minutes to go when the Heat took the lead. The Bobcats could never get their play back together as some poor shooting (Maggette) and the turnover bug once again plagued this young Bobcats team. You have to hand it to the Bobcats; they never gave up. Things were not going their way at the end of the game when Chris Bosh blocked Corey Maggette and Lebron lobbed a blind pass all the way back to a unguarded Dwayne Wade on a freak play that no one could have predicted. The game would be an incredible nail biter as Gerald Henderson fought through defenders to bring the Cats back to within two. Miami had a lapse of judgment and lost the ball out of bounds with less than 20 seconds to go. Gerald Henderson came up HUGE with his second three pointer of the season, and right on time. It proved to be too soon, though, as Dwayne Wade sank a shot that was well defended by Hendo. With 2.9 seconds to go the Cats couldn't find the hoop.
There were a lot of good things to talk about following this game. Boris Diaw continues to play like a player in a contract year; coming in at 16pts and 16 rebounds with 8 assists. Byron Mullens played valiantly in his short amount of time on the court. Biyombo got a few more minutes and make a defensive impact that will only continue to grow. Kemba Walker had another impressive game, this time with much better shooting as he had 14 pts on 6 of 9 shooting. Corey Maggette was a straight atrocity as he was 1 for 8 from the floor and took some very untimely shots. DJ White had another stat packed game as he finished with 8 pts, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Guys, we have a real foundation here. This team is going to be a lot of fun to watch this year and I'm happy to be here.
Regardless of the loss, the TSP Gamebreaker Award: Hands down Gerald Henderson. He knocked 'em down when it counts and made great plays all game. Not to mention he knocked down a HUGE three late in the game to put the Cats up by one
Look for my article tomorrow covering my debut wit the SuperFans. For the few of you who don't know who that is (guy in the fancy wool jacket, I'm talking to you), I'll give you some details as to who they are and what they do.
It was truly inspirational to hang with them tonight. Biggest perk of all was to see SOME fans at a Bobcats game that were actually BOBCATS fans. Either some fans were cheering for both sides, or the arena actually sounded like it was 50/50 for both sides. Tune in tomorrow to see words and pictures of your Charlotte Bobcats SUPERFANS!