(Courtesy Chuck Burton - AP)
How about that new Hornets logo for 2014, huh? I start with that statement because the game was a painful one to watch. We have seen such great improvements from the Bobcats this season, and some pretty incredible games that I guess I’ve set the bar too high for every game. Tonight would be one such game as the Bobcats were facing the Eastern Conference’s team with the worst record in the Milwaukee Bucks. It should have been a landslide victory, right? Nope. It took overtime to put the Bucks away, and even then, we only won by one point. Come on, you know you want to see what happened…
In a recent interview, Coach Clifford said that he believed that games are won, based on how a team performs in the first quarter more than the last. If you start strong, you aren’t playing catch-up the entire game. Well, fortunately, that didn’t prove to be true tonight. The Bobcats were just flat and after a 1st quarter score of 33 to 17, Coach Clifford might have been thinking it would be a long night. Well, it was, in fact, a rather long night. We were out-rebounded, out-stolen, and out-blocked, but we still managed to pull off a victory. Don’t go looking for details in the shooting percentages because the Bobcats only shot 43.4% to the Bucks 43.3%. You can look to the 3-point shots, but Charlotte was 10-17 to the Bucks 10 – 28. Even the foul shots don’t show how we won where the Bobcats shot 15-20 to the Bucks 16-17. So what won the game? In part, it was the bench. They put together a fairly impressive 2nd quarter that showed the Bobcats clawing back into the game. A 35 to 21 2nd quarter had the Bobcats set to make a comeback in the second half, being down only 2 points. The 3rd quarter started, and did not look much better than the 1st quarter did. A quick time out to talk things over helped us to wrap up the 3rd quarter with a 26-24 edge. Basically it all came down to the 4th quarter…tie game…who would muster what was needed in the 4th to come away with a win? Well…no one actually. The 4th quarter ended as it began…in a tie. 23-23.
Still scratching your head on how we won? I’ll say it again in this recap. They played with heart. The duo of Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson willed the team to victory. Kemba put up very impressive numbers that many critics should appreciate. He’s always being ridiculed about his assist number, so tonight Kemba had 10 assists to go with his 25 points and 9 rebounds. He only turned the ball over 3 times, so that was a good thing. Big Al recorded 26 points on 12-23 shooting and was 2-3 from the foul line. He had 9 rebounds, an assist, and a blocked shot on the night. If we could get a 3rd scorer to start consistently giving us 18-22 points a night, these wins may start coming a little easier…I’m looking your way Hendo.
Anthony Tolliver gave us 12 points off of 4-4 shooting from 3-point land. He also gave us 3 rebounds, an assist, and a blocked shot. Cody Zeller had a great game with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. It’s great to see the young guy starting to catch on and learn the ins and outs of the NBA. We heard Taylor talk last year about the speed of the game in the NBA versus college, and I think Cody is feeling it and figuring things out. Josh McRoberts added 9 points, Hendo and Sessions each added 8 points, and Ben Gordon even added 6. Overall the team kept its turnovers in check, committing only 8 as compared to the Bucks’ 12.
Any game that you can come away from with as a winner is a great game. It wasn’t the most fun to watch, but a victory nonetheless.
We are now 14-15 on the season. Next on the schedule is the OKC Thunder in Charlotte on Friday, 12/27/13 at 7PM. We will be getting a couple days of rest after the past week of 2 back-to-backs and tonight’s game. That’s 5 games in 6 days. Best part is that we came away, winning 4 of those 5 games. Worst part was Jeff Taylor rupturing his Achilles’ in Detroit. Let’s all hope that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s broken hand checks out OK on the 27th, and we can get our starting SF back into the lineup soon.
So, about that logo…wow…