Score: 90-86 Detroit
Bobcats Record: 7-17
Meritorious Player: D.J. Augustin – 18 points on 10 attempts, 2 assists, 1 rebound. Net efficiency of +24.2.
The Bobcats made this one interesting, to say the least. After being behind by as much as 29 points, Charlotte got it back to within 1 – only to be done in by a 7-footer's three again (This time it was Rasheed, following up Dirk the other night). As nice as it would have been to win the first game with the new guys, Detroit is still a pretty solid team, and it was not to be.
Speaking of the new guys, how did they do? To be honest, not great. But Boris Diaw at least showed some promise – 9 rebounds and 5 assists in only 27 minutes is not a bad night of work. Yes, the Bobcats were better with him off the court than on, but that was partly due to who he was up against. The bulk of his time was spent facing Sheed, Allen Iverson, Tayshaun, Stuckey and Richard Hamilton. Pretty good group, right? For the season, they have a net efficiency of +16.7, so Boris (and the 4 other guys on the court) can be forgiven for struggling against that group. I just wanted to point out the degree of difficulty faced by the newcomers so they are not unfairly judged – yes the Bobcats made it close, but that was in part because Detroit had backed off with such a big league. Plus, considering how little practice time (if any) Bell and Diaw had been afforded with their new squad…well, I can make excuses all day. Point is: Yes, ugly overall results – extenuating circumstances – decent play by Diaw at least.
Raja Bell on the other hand – well, he seemed excited by the opportunity to have the ball in his hand's a bit more, taking his 5th most field goal attempts of the season and his 4th most attempts per minute outing of the year. Unfortunately, it was the worst of those efforts, as he scored only 4 points. We should expect that to be an aberration, as his shooting numbers are actually very good – 56.7% fg, 35.7% 3fg. First night jitters.
As for the rest of the team – they won the rebounding battle! Charlotte out-rebounded Detroit 49 to 35. I was not sure I would ever see that kind of dominance on the glass for the Bobcats, but with the team playing big most of the night (an actual 4 out there, rather than Gerald having to pretend) they were able to more than hold their own rebounding. Nice to see and a welcome change should it continue.
There were a couple of other players who had disappointing games – you can see them for yourself in the boxscore. But I will not call them out for a single night disappointment right now – staying upbeat with the optimism found from a change – potential abounds. Should the near invisibility continue, though, I will be forced to expose it.