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Bobcats cruise past Wizards in pre-season opener

For whatever it’s worth, the Bobcats are 1-0 in the pre-season after their 100-88 win over Washington in Time Warner Cable Arena yesterday. It’s not saying much considering it is pre-season and the Wizards were also without John Wall, Emeka Okafor and Nene, but it’s a positive result for the Bobcats, nonetheless.

Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 19 points (6-14 FG) and 4 rebounds. Hendo was aggressive getting to the basket as he earned 9 attempts from the foul line and seemed to pick up pretty much from where he left off last season. Dunlap is going to feed Hendo opportunities on the offensive end similarly to what he’s been used to in the past- yesterday he was running off numerous curls and getting isolation sets designed for him.

Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also had an impressive game and highlighted his performance with a double-team steal on Trevor Ariza and emphatic one handed dunk on the other end early in the 3rd quarter. MKG finished with 12 points (4-10 FG) and 6 rebounds. Although the shooting numbers weren’t great, he was very assertive and a bull on the defensive end all afternoon, as expected. Fellow rookie Bradley Beal was matched up against MKG for much of this game and the two certainly went back-and-forth in a preview of what could be the next two superstar players in the southeast division. Beal finished the game with 18 points on 7-17 shooting.

Newcomers Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon definitely provided a spark off the bench as the two combined for 30 points on 11-23 shooting. Sessions had 14 points and 5 assist while Gordon scored 16 points and proved that he’s going to help the Bobcats stretch opposing defenses all season long.

Kemba Walker started this game at PG, scored 7 points and dished out 3 assist. The stat line doesn’t look great, but Walker was playing like a true PG- pushing the ball up the floor, looking to drive and kick and overall simply trying to create for his teammates. With the offensive additions that have been made to this team it should become much easier for Kemba to be a distributor and not so much of a scorer this season.

Now let’s discuss good ole’ Tyrus Thomas for a minute- truth is, he wasn’t bad at all. Didn’t play out of control, got to the foul line 8 times and was a defensive force with 3 blocks. Tyrus seemed to get back to what he used to be so good at- bringing defensive energy. It’s only one game, but what he did on the floor yesterday was certainly encouraging to what he was doing a year ago.

Dunlap started Kemba, Hendo, Kidd-Gilchrist, Mullens and Haywood yesterday. This certainly does not mean that this is the starting lineup come the regular season, but it could give us a glance at which direction Dunlap is leaning at this point. There have been rumblings that Mullens had a much better training camp than Biyombo and Mully getting the start yesterday is probably proof of that. The other four starters were as expected.

As a team Charlotte shot 45.1% from the field while Washington was just 33.3%. Stat of the day and the one that Mike Dunlap is likely doing backflips over- Bobcats took 46 FT’s yesterday, compared to the Wizards 21.

Charlotte will play in New Orleans tomorrow night at 8pm in the second pre-season game.