For the detailed boxscore, go here: Queen City Hoops Stats Page
Score: 101-83 Bobcats
Bobcats Record: 1-2
Meritorious Player: Shannon Brown – 16 points (8 attempts), 4 steals, 3 assists, 1 block. In 26 minutes and 5 seconds, Shannon helped the Bobcats win by 2…well, that part of the game, anyway. The Bobcats were better at both ends of the floor, with an offensive efficiency of 122.2 and defensive mark of 115.2. And, yes, 115.2 was an improvement from overall. Leading into…
Tonight was not a good showing defensively. The Bobcats were most generous, allowing the Pistons 126.3 points per 100 possessions. When you look at the final score, you may be inclined to assume the defense was ok, and it was the offense's fault for the loss – but when you realize there were only 80 possessions in the game, perceptions change.
Among the main problems with the defense? Leaving shooters open – seems simplistic, but when you are facing a team with Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rasheed Wallace ready to fire from the outside, it is an important consideration. Just as the Bobcats struggled with Boobie Gibson in the opener, and leaving Udonis Haslem and Beasley open against the Heat, they did the same with the Pistons. Detroit hit 8 of 16 three point tries, and it felt like most of them were wide open attempts. Unlike Detroit leaving Gerald wide open for three, it is not a good move in reverse.
The highlights of the night for the Bobcats? They attacked offensively for large parts of the game, leading to a 35 to 11 free throw advantage. Even better, they shot well from the stripe, making 28 of them, good for 80%. All of those trips to the line helped the Bobcats to a solid night of offense, posting an efficiency of 105.1. Not great, but decent.
The only other bright spot was Adam Morrison: 10 points on 6 attempts, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in 24 minutes. I particularly liked his post up basket, showing some nice offensive versatility.
With the good covered, here is what went wrong (aside from target practice for the Pistons):
Rebounding – I hate to harp on something, but I would be remiss to not mention it. The Bobcats were out-rebounded 42-31, and Detroit had a 16 to 8 advantage on the offensive glass. That is part of what gave Detroit 25 more attempts from the field than the Bobcats (the other part is the free-throw discrepancy – with the Cats taking 24 more ft, we will call the field goal attempt difference 12 – still a lot).
Turnovers – In an 80 possession game, 13 turnovers is too many to give up…and 8 is still too few to have forced. Considering that Shannon Brown had four of those himself with his steals, the rest of the Bobcats had a lacking night defensively.
Raymond Felton – This is not a knock on Ray personally, but the Bobcats did not need him on the court tonight. Charlotte allowed 148.6 points per 100 possessions with Felton on the court, over nearly half of the game. Why? Well, Raymond was obviously hurting, limping around the court, and waving at his man as he drove past. It put a strain on the team that it could not handle against such a well-balanced offense. With a high draft pick in Augustin, and Shannon Brown and Matt Carroll also on the bench, there was no reason for the Bobcats to leave Felton out there to be abused. It is not like the offense clicked with him on the court, with a scoring efficiency of 86.5, thanks in part to his 3 turnovers in the limited minutes.
While the outcome was not necessarily what we hoped for, there were positives to take from it.
One, Shannon Brown showed that he is going to contribute this year, as a offensive spark plug off the bench, and spot point guard. He is incredibly athletic, and showed it tonight with his speed and the open court block of (I think) Hamilton.
Gerald Wallace also showed a renewed commitment to the boards with 12. That is more like the Crash Charlotte loves (but the 2 3 point attempts were probably 1 more than necessary).
Adam Morrison continues to contribute, and had his best shooting game of the incredibly young season. Honestly, the rebounds and assists are even more encouraging to see than the points (and I know they are not high totals, but go back to his rookie year and see how many games this is better than – I skimmed and came up with 35, despite him getting more minutes most of the season).
Really, tonight was a game that the Bobcats were not expected to win, even with Billups and McDyess headed to Denver, and Iverson in transit. It would have been a bonus – but Wednesday is different. New York, New York.