|Josh McRoberts, PF 30 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +3
The unsung hero of the 2nd half of the 2012-13 season continues to flourish in the new season. Despite the inconsistent shooting performance, McRoberts was still effective on both ends of the basket while continuing to look like one of the more underrated passing bigs in the league.
|Bismack Biyombo, PF 40 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-6 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | 0
The ongoing development for Bismack Biyombo continues to take shape as the 21 year old big looked solid against Jonas Valanciunas and the Raptors. His patented defense was definitely on display as he controlled the paint against the Raptors offense. What was perhaps more surprising about tonight’s game was how comfortable he looked on the offensive end. While that part of his game is still in development, it’s promising to see that he’s actually becoming an inside threat for Kemba (and McRoberts) which is a pleasant improvement.
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 29 MIN | 6-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -1
One of the biggest questions going into tonight’s game was about how the Bobcats could stop DeMar DeRozan or Rudy Gay. That issue was quickly answered by how solid MKG looked when he was put to the task of guarding Gay. His persistent defensive approach was on display as Kidd-Gilchrist successfully worked around off-ball screens and kept Gay to a Michael Beasley level of efficiency. As he develops his shot with shooting coach Mark Price, MKG will hopefully continue to play like an absolute bull on the offensive side as he charges the paint with no regard for human life.
|Kemba Walker, PG 39 MIN | 2-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +9
I lowered his grade down to a B- because of his rough shooting night but Walker was still pretty effective because of his ability to take control of the offense and defend Kyle Lowry. In his 3rd season in the league, Kemba’s leadership ability continues to grow as he was able to control the pace of the offense. While his horrible shooting performance will hinder how people look at his performance against Toronto, Kemba’s ability to lead the Bobcats offense without giving up a turnover will be the most important aspect when you look back at tonight’s game.
|Gerald Henderson, SG 34 MIN | 10-17 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | +1
In perhaps his best performance of the short season, Henderson looked like a man on a mission from the opening tip-off. Throughout the majority of the 1st quarter, Henderson was able to quickly work around off-ball screens to get an open mid-range jumper which pretty much landed in the basket more times than not. Shooting performance aside, Henderson went into the game with the task of defending DeMar DeRozan and he definitely excelled at that when you look at the fact that DeRozan was 5-16 from the field.
|Cody Zeller, PF 18 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -1
My indifference towards the start of the Cody Zeller era continues as he had a solid offensive night which was outshined by his play on the defensive end. There was one sequence towards the end of the 1st quarter where a penetrating Landry Fields worked his way towards the baseline and pushed off on Zeller as he put in the easy layup. The biggest issue with that sequence is that I really wasn’t surprised at all. His career in the league is still really young so I’m going to try to be optimistic which might be tough in the early stages of the season.
|Jeff Adrien, SF 8 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2
As a huge fan of Adrien’s high-energy approach to the game, I was pretty disappointed by his lack of playing time. The fact that he’s an undersized forward has held him back since his exit from UConn but the fate may change if Adrien continues to be an extremely efficient rebounder.
|Ramon Sessions, PG 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 6-8 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -3
As an unabashed Bucks fan, my opinion on Sessions has always been that he’s a guard version of Corey Maggette. While that doesn’t sound so appealing, Sessions has always a good backup because of his ability to penetrate to the basket. That ability was showcased tonight by his multiple appearances to the free-throw line, but the more important aspect was his solid team defense.
|Jeff Taylor, SG 28 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | 0
Taking on the job of backing up Gerald Henderson tonight would have been a difficult task for most sophomore wings but Jeff Taylor looked fantastic on both ends of the basket. Defensively, Taylor was able to successfully defend the athletic DeMar DeRozan which is the main reason why he’s getting minutes over veteran Ben Gordon. On the other end, the sophomore wing looked great as he moved to the basket off-ball while being able to hit a good amount of mid-range shots.
|Steve Clifford Through his first week as an NBA head coach, Steve Clifford is passing with flying colors. Just the simple fact that he took a core that finished in the defensive cellar last season and pushed them to become a top 10 defensive team is really incredible. The decision to sit Zeller for McRoberts may get its own criticism but it’s still the right move as the Indiana alum is still raw on the defensive side which has always been Clifford’s area of expertise.|
Three Things We Saw
- The Bobcats potentially being thankful for the ridiculous mental lapse by Raptors coach Duane Casey. WIth less than 20 seconds left in the game and Toronto trailing by only two, the Bobcats were able to hold onto possession without having Casey calling for his troops to intentionally foul Charlotte. While that move would have been a good idea because of basic basketball logic, Charlotte shot 56% from the free-throw line which should have put the idea in Casey’s mind to foul the Bobcats in the hopes of having another Raptors possession to potentially tie or win the game.
- The team defense for Charlotte was absolutely outstanding for the second night in a row. Under Clifford’s reign, the Bobcats are learning to do things like help defense or crowd the paint to guard a penetrating opponent which was considered to be rocket science under the reign of Mike Dunlap.
- After breaking the .500 plateau in their back-to-back against Toronto and New York, the Bobcats will meet up against the banged up Knicks once again on Friday as they look to hold on to their lead of the Southeast Division. Yes, I give you the right to screenshot, tweet and text that last sentence to your basketball loving friends.