|Tyrus Thomas, PF 26 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +8
Not a very productive night for Thomas, again. This hopefully will not become an ongoing theme this season, but he still hasn’t had a strong game since returning from his left ankle injury earlier in season. Thomas has got to assert himself on the boards more for this team.
|Gerald Henderson, G 42 MIN | 9-17 FG | 8-12 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 26 PTS | +11
Hendo’s maturation within his offensive game is becoming more apparent with every game. He’s taking shots from everywhere on the court now and attacking the rim with a purpose. Hendo seems to me that he’s going to become the guy the Bobcats must go to for instant offense when needed. During the Warriors 11-0 in the 4th Hendo’s number was called on to attack rim and get to the line in order to stop the bleeding, and he’s really the only Bobcat who can do that rather consistently.
|Byron Mullens, C 32 MIN | 7-15 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +8
This grade may surprise you, but when I’m watching Mullens play, there is still a lot this kid has to learn. On the defensive end he’s got to start fronting the post more where stronger opponents want to expose him and on offense he’s got to get rid of the ball quicker. Mullens has gotten into a habit of holding the ball when his shot isn’t immediately available, and on occasion he’ll try to take his defender off the dribble which is a big no-no for a 7-footer. Nonetheless, another solid night from the field.
|D.J. Augustin, PG 44 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-7 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 16 PTS | +7
A solid night overall for Augustin, but I’d still like to see him shoot the ball more. Kemba being in the starting lineup and catching fire early took attempts away from Augustin and I’m certainly not saying that’s a bad thing, but Augustin will not be able to continue with this 6-8 FGA/night trend. He was able to get to the line tonight though and finished with an efficient stat line.
|Kemba Walker, PG 39 MIN | 8-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 23 PTS | +10
Somewhat of a breakout game here for Kemba, and it makes it even better that he was in the starting lineup. He was great from the field, active on defense, and didn’t turn the ball over once tonight, but the aspect that is more important than all of those things is the fact that he ignited energy into this team. Energy is contagious, as showed tonight.
|Boris Diaw, PF 23 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | +6
Better. Much better. Boris got a splash of motivation from somewhere. It was probably being scratched from the starting lineup, either way he showed good effort tonight. Play of the game for Diaw was sprinting back down the floor after a Warriors steal to stop a fast break layup. Baby steps, tonight was a small one in the right direction.
Four Things We Saw
- Shooting clinic. The Bobcats were ripping the net off until the 4th quarter. 50% (38-76) from the field and 53.8% (7-13) from behind the arc. Open looks were surfacing simply because of ball movement. Less standing around and a collective effort to execute offensively was apparent tonight.
- Defensive effort. I know I say it a lot, it’s just the coach coming out in me. But it was obvious tonight that this team had had enough of getting blown out and were determined to play harder than their opponent. Still getting lost defensively, slow to retreat on occasion, and doing too much ball watching, but a collective effort to guard the opponent with a purpose led to all the other success on the floor tonight.
- Attacking the painted area. One thing I saw both Augustin and Kemba doing repeatedly tonight was splitting the hedge and ball defender on pick-and-roll opportunities, allowing them to get into lane, collapse the defense and either pull up for short jumper or kick it out for an open shot. I had seen Kemba make some progress with this moving in the pick-and-roll, but Augustin was showing his willingness tonight. Looks like an offensive adjustment that coaching staff has made to try and produce some open looks.
- Opportunity. Every game is an opportunity for a young team to improve, but the Bobcats will host Cleveland on Monday afternoon in the Martin Luther King Day matinee and it will be another very winnable game. After one of the more torturous 6-game losing streaks I’ve ever had to endure, the opportunity for a 2-game winning streak has shown it’s face.