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Bobcats outlast Bulls; Ride wave of momentum into South Beach Sunday

Chicago Bulls 86 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Charlotte Bobcats
Josh McRoberts, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +2

Battled with Taj Gibson for what seemed like the entire second half. This felt like a playoff game and I can’t say enough about McBob’s effort. Seemed to make the right play, in the right moment, most of the night. Would be nice for him to rediscover that touch from deep starting Sunday.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Shot Chart 23 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +1

I would be totally remiss if I didn’t give MKG credit in this game. Loved the aggressiveness on the offensive end front that start. It was clear that the team had a plan to get to the rim early on and MKG led that charge with the first offensive possession.

Al Jefferson, C Shot Chart 42 MIN | 4-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 18 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +9

Don’t let the grade fool you. Jefferson did his job on the boards and even made some stops at the rim with two blocks. I can’t justify not giving him a below average grade, though, because of what he has been doing on the offensive end. We’ll go ahead and assume this to be a factor of 1) Joakim Noah’s defensive effort, and 2) a simple outlier from the season sample.

Jefferson left the game in the second half with a left-knee contusion. Fans were holding their breath when Big Al left for the locker room, but it appears to be all-for-not and he should be good to go for Sunday in Miami.

Kemba Walker, PG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 6-16 FG | 10-11 FT | 7 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | +7

As is the case usually in close game for the Bobcats, Kemba made all of the big plays when the team needed it. Kemba scored 8 points in OT to propel Charlotte. Zero turnovers tonight, folks. Zero.

Gerald Henderson, SG Shot Chart 33 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +11

Hendo pretty much did what he does. Had some moments that had you jumping out of your seat like when he cut backdoor and punched one on Noah’s head. And he also had some moments where he forced bad jump shots and clearly wanted nothing to do with the shot in the first place. Here’s me, hoping for all of us, that Hendo peaks in the post-season.

Cody Zeller, C Shot Chart 18 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +3

Cody had a phenomenal first half and set TWC Arena ablaze with his highlight dunks in transition. Clifford decided to go small + go with McBob in the second half, so his minutes were very limited. Don’t let the one rebound fool you – Zeller kept plenty of balls alive off of the offensive glass, as he usually does. He led the team with three turnovers tonight and it’s simply a product of how sped up he can get when forced to put the ball on the floor, going to the rim – a slowly developing skill.

Bismack Biyombo, C Shot Chart 11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -4

Looked competent offensively tonight when he had opportunities around the rim. He has a highlight block that will blow the roof of TWC and lead to a transition bucket in the playoffs.

Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -2

After an unreal 4th quarter in Atlanta on Monday, Ridnour took some jump shots tonight that missed so bad that I’ll likely wake up tonight with cold sweats dreaming about them. He redeemed himself by knocking down a big three-pointer though, so all is forgotten. The second honestly just struggled tonight with Luke manning the show.

Gary Neal, SG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -6

Not a great shooting night, but the effort across the board was fantastic. Crashing the defensive glass, diving for loose balls, and overall just playing with playoff passion. Neal is going to be key for Charlotte against the Heat in the first round – this is why we acquired the guy at the trade deadline.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +4

When you need a big shot during a game. Or, when you need three of them – call on CDR. The combination of knocking down the clutch corner three’s late in game + having an instinct to be around the ball off of the offensive glass are the kind of tools CDR adds to the arsenal for this team.

Steve Clifford


Four Things We Saw

  1. This game started with Chicago getting most of what they wanted around the basket with their 16 points-in-the-paint in the first quarter. That changed quickly as the Bulls only managed 12 points from that distance for the remainder of the game and the Bobcats poured in 34 points from up close in the last three quarters.
  2. Kemba Walker. If the Bobcats continue to play close games in the first round against Miami then it’s going to ride on Walker’s shoulders. He’s made for late games and, again tonight, proved that by carrying Charlotte with 8 of their 11 points in OT.
  3. BRING ON THE HEAT. You may cringe as you read that and I don’t blame you, but it is what it is now. The Wizards blew out Boston tonight and actually managed to fight their way all the way to the 5th seed in the east with Brooklyn’s loss to Cleveland. Whatever. We get Miami and the bid for arguably the biggest upset in playoff history begins Sunday at 3:30 PM ET in Miami. It will be the Charlotte Bobcats first appearance ever (and likely last) playing on ABC.
  4. Here we go everyone. As the Bobcats exit and the Hornets prepare to take over the reigns of the franchise in Charlotte, the 2014 NBA Playoffs provide for the ideal transition. Have fun.