|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 20 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +12
MKG looked like a very young rookie, on offense. A couple of forced jumpers and couldn’t get a call in the paint (tough to tell from where I sat if he earned any). But he is already a nuisance defensively, even turning back a dunk attempt from Hibbert. A decent enough start.
|Brendan Haywood, C 31 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | +14
Played big and stopped the Pacers from getting easy baskets at the bottom of the Bobcats zone – no blocks, but he used his fouls well and made it tough near the basket for the most part.
|Byron Mullens, C 31 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +12
Watching Byron during warmups, he shot nothing but 3s during the free shot portion. He mixed it up slightly more during the game, but just barely. I know he likes his new toy, but Dunlap may have to take it away from him if he doesn’t start diversifying a bit more. However, in spite of the disappointing offensive output, Byron earned his spot on the court for the final defensive stand. Byron did a good job throughout the night (with a couple of lapses) of rotating within the Bobcats zone and using his length to make things difficult – even breaking up an alley-oop attempt. It was a very encouraging display for Mullens, defensively.
|Kemba Walker, PG 33 MIN | 10-21 FG | 9-10 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 30 PTS | +13
Yeah, Kemba gets an A+, even with a couple of missed shots at the end of the game and few assists. Kemba attacked the rim and pushed the pace in transition, and did a fairly solid job of converting once he got in close. He still has a tendency to float into his pullup jumpers – not quite floaters, not quite a pullup, and it hurts his efficiency. But overall, Kemba had a very strong opening to the season (and made me look silly for suggesting Ramon had a shot at his job).
|Gerald Henderson, SG 36 MIN | 6-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +10
A quiet 18 for Gerald Henderson – a few midrange jumpers and a few scores in transition, and all of a sudden he is in the mid-teens. The better part? He made a couple of threes, but was not forcing them like a certain teammate. If Gerald can make the corner three regularly, he becomes a significantly more valuable player. Different topic: In the arena, they didn’t show a good replay of what occured between Henderson and Gerald Green, that earned GH, Jr. a flagrant foul, so if someone can clarify in the comments (or share a gif even better), I’d appreciate it.
|Bismack Biyombo, PF 17 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -13
Bismack was excited for the season to start, he could barely contain himself. Literally. On one of his first possessions in the game, a teammate created a wide open dunk for Bismack, who got so excited about the flush that he bobbled the ball away and blew the basket. He got it back later, with a bit more patience in his gather and finish. Between Hibbert’s height and David West’s (and Tyler Hansbrough’s) bulk, it wasn’t a great matchup for Bis tonight – but he still grabbed a handful of rebounds, blocked a couple of shots, and forced a turnover by poking away a defensive rebound from Indiana.
|Tyrus Thomas, PF 17 MIN | 1-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -11
Out of position repeatedly on defense. Forced shots on offense. Complained to the refs throughout. The lone “F” of an otherwise exciting opening night. I’m concerned.
|Ramon Sessions, PG 21 MIN | 3-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -12
A solid opening night for the backup pointguard (just wanted to reiterate it, after Kemba’s big game).
|Ben Gordon, SG 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -11
Gordon did what he was brought here to do – shoot. 10 points on 8 attempts in 22 minutes. Maybe a bit too much dribbling at times, but another good debut for a new addition.
Three Things We Saw
- The Bobcats didn’t announce attendance at tonight’s game – it was far from a packed house. Not to say the place was empty – but there were seats available, which was a bit disappointing for opening night.
- The atmosphere, however, was very good. The crowd was engaged throughout (it helps when the team is competitive) and it got very loud during the last couple of minutes during defensive possessions. Fortunately for the Bobcats and their fans, D.J. Augustin’s shot at the buzzer to win fell short.
- As expected, the Bobcats played large portions of tonight’s game with a small lineup – Reggie Williams, Ramon Sessions, and Ben Gordon were on the court together for a while, and there were other 3-guard lineups as well. The Bobcats used a zone for large portions of the game, giving up some 3s and offensive rebounds in the process, but if it gets their best offensive options on the court, they’ll have to make it work.