Queen City Hoops

Bobcats lose 11th straight to Hawks

Atlanta Hawks 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
83 Charlotte Bobcats
Josh McRoberts, PF Shot Chart 27 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -16

Atlanta made it clear that they were going to play off of McBob and pay more attention to denying post-entries to Jefferson. Like, they played way off of McBob. Is it a bit of an outlier that he was this bad from the floor tonight? Sure. That being said, teams are going to continue to keep this approach when guarding Charlotte. The effectiveness of McBob shooting the ball for the remainder of the season is an underlying storyline to just how far the Bobcats will go.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Shot Chart 21 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3

Kept balls alive tonight off of the glass and did a decent job with Kyle Korver, other than the 3rd quarter. Got to make your free throws MKG.

Al Jefferson, C Shot Chart 39 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -13

Antic and Brand did a very nice job against Jefferson in this game. Both guys were extremely physical with him, not allowing Big Al to get where he wanted around the basket, and also stayed on their feet when Jefferson shot faked. As I mentioned earlier, the Hawks sagged so far off of McBob with Millsap that they took away the post-entry angles from Charlotte. Point being, Jefferson really didn’t get a ton of touches tonight.

Kemba Walker, PG Shot Chart 33 MIN | 7-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -16

Really the only Bobcat who had it going tonight. Very good shooting the ball from distance. Kemba played with a pep in his step tonight. Does anyone think he knows it’s March?

Gerald Henderson, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 5-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -5

This is a solid stat line for Hendo. It would have been even better if Jefferson would’ve produced what we’ve become accustomed to from him, but again, props to Atlanta for their scheme.

Anthony Tolliver, PF Shot Chart 11 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3

Needs to find the stroke again. Minutes are dwindling.

Cody Zeller, C Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +3

Struggled, but had an awesome and-1 in the first half — running the floor like a deer and being rewarded by CDR.

Bismack Biyombo, C Shot Chart 8 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +1

The Bobcats had 7 turnovers as a team and Biz was responsible for 2 of them. Also, he picked up 3 fouls in just shy of 8 minutes played. You be the judge.

Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +2

Good minutes from Ridnour tonight. Love the corner 3 that he hit and this is a major way that he can add value while on the floor. Spacing.

Gary Neal, SG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -9

Neal was forcing everything tonight. Not sharing the ball, constantly looking for his shot (which is fine when every shot isn’t a bad one) and he was in a pouty mood. Not my favorite performance from Neal to say the least.

One Thing We Saw

  1. Short memory will be important here – HUGE GAME in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Charlotte Bobcats 101, Milwaukee Bucks 92: Sunday Hangover

Charlotte Bobcats 101 FinalRecap | Box Score 92 Milwaukee Bucks
Josh McRoberts, PF 32 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +13

A typically well-rounded game from McRoberts. He scored all nine of his points on treys, bouncing back nicely from Friday’s 0-for-6 performance from long range.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 27 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +13

Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t get any fourth-quarter minutes, as Steve Clifford opted to play Gary Neal and Gerald Henderson down the stretch, but he was effective when he was on the floor. He’s been more aggressive on the offensive end recently, seeing an uptick in both his scoring and offensive rebounding.

Al Jefferson, C 37 MIN | 10-17 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 6 TO | 20 PTS | +8

Jefferson ended up having a nice game after struggling early — the Bucks held him to just four points in the opening half, and harassed him into six turnovers total. Al kept grinding, though, scoring 10 points in the third quarter and helping Charlotte reclaim the game.

Kemba Walker, PG 31 MIN | 7-13 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +13

Kemba didn’t attempt a shot at the rim, but that doesn’t matter when your jumper is falling. He needed a game like this after a few recent clunkers. The defense was less impressive, though, as Milwuakee’s point guards combined for 39 points.

Gerald Henderson, SG 31 MIN | 6-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +18

An excellent overall game from Henderson, as he stuffed the stat sheet and scored a very efficient 14 points on seven shots. He made several big hustle plays down the stretch, including a tough rebound in traffic that sealed the win.

Cody Zeller, C 16 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -4

It was a quieter game for Zeller, but you can still see the growth he’s made. Even when he isn’t scoring, he looks noticeably more confident and assertive. His improved rebounding has been especially welcome.

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

Biyombo had some nice flashes on offense, hitting a baseline jumper and shaking off a defender for a bucket in the post. There were a few awkward moments when he ended up with the ball late in the shot clock (see below), but on the whole he was steady.

Luke Ridnour, PG 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -4

Zero turnovers was nice to see, but Ridnour still needs to learn the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Dumping the ball to Biyombo with five seconds left on the shot clock isn’t going to work, and he’s done that a little too often.

Gary Neal, SG 25 MIN | 5-6 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | -1

Neal is here to score, and he was nearly perfect in today’s game. 18 points on six shots, including a late dagger three that blew the game open, was a great way to make his return to Milwaukee.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -12

A bit of a comedown after his good game on Friday, but he should hopefully find a little more consistency as he gets more time.

One Thing We Saw

  1. This was a weird game in general, with the Bobcats trailing for most of play despite shooting 57 percent from the floor. An uncharacteristic 17 turnovers hurt them a lot, as did Milwaukee’s 15 offensive rebounds. The Bucks had 21 more field-goal attempts than Charlotte did; they’re lucky to get out of this one with a win.

Charlotte Bobcats 105, Minnesota Timberwolves 93: Depth Charge

Minnesota Timberwolves 93 FinalRecap | Box Score 105 Charlotte Bobcats
Josh McRoberts, PF 27 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +14

McRoberts was 0-for-6 from three, and most of those were wide open. His passing keeps things fluid, though, especially since coach Steve Clifford has been giving him more minutes with the second unit. McRoberts’ ballhandling there keeps the offense churning without Kemba Walker and puts less pressure on the turnover-prone Luke Ridnour.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 25 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -1

MKG was pleasantly aggressive in the first quarter, scoring six points on 3-of-3 shooting and grabbing four rebounds. His rebounding was a positive all night, especially his four offensive boards, and he helped Charlotte carve out a 54-35 rebound advantage.

Al Jefferson, C 38 MIN | 12-26 FG | 1-1 FT | 16 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | 0

Jefferson got his, even if it wasn’t the most efficient game. That was partially due to the refs swallowing their whistles as he fought through double- and triple-teams; Al only attempted one free throw. The team basically expects Jefferson to be excellent on a nightly basis, and he doesn’t disappoint often.

Kemba Walker, PG 34 MIN | 3-12 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | -1

March hasn’t been kind to Kemba. He’s averaging 13.8 points a game on just 34.7 percent from the field, and his three-point shooting has cratered to 22.7 percent. On the plus side, his assists are up (7.4 per game) and the team is winning (5-3). If he can find his stroke, the Bobcats could be very dangerous down the stretch.

Gerald Henderson, SG 25 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +3

Henderson faded after exploding for eight points in five first quarter minutes, but the team has suddenly found itself with an embarrassment of riches on the wing. His shooting, rebounding and defense were all on point in his more limited time.

Cody Zeller, C 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -2

Zeller didn’t exactly stretch the floor, with all five of his makes coming at the rim, but he did a very good job rebounding, running the floor and getting open looks. Three assists isn’t shabby, either. Zeller has been a dependable piece off the bench in the past 10 games, averaging eight points on 53 percent shooting and grabbing 5.4 rebounds in just 18 minutes a game.

Bismack Biyombo, C 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +12

Nothing flashy from Biz, but he helped clamp down the Timberwolves offense during a second-quarter run that blew the game open. Especially nice was a fingertip block on a Kevin Love fadeaway that really showed off his wingspan.

Luke Ridnour, PG 14 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | +13

The counting stats all look good, at least, but Ridnour plays out of control in a scary way. The team could use a steady ballhandler off the bench, and three turnovers in 14 minutes is too many.

Gary Neal, SG 25 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +11

Gary Neal was seemingly possessed by the ghost of Ben Gordon tonight (the good Ben Gordon). He started out by machine-gunning Minnesota for 16 points in the first half, and his four assists were the cherry on top.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +11

CDR’s been terrific in his recent stretch, helping push the pace and playing solid defense. The team suddenly has more wing players than it knows what to do with, but Clifford did an excellent job managing the rotations: Douglas-Roberts, Neal, Henderson and Kidd-Gilchrist all got at least 20 minutes, and all contributed in significant ways that played to their strengths.

Anthony Tolliver, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION

Unfortunately, that squeezed out Anthony Tolliver. Clifford has said he’ll play matchups and give minutes to the players that earn them, and it’s hard to argue against AT’s DNP-CD. He’ll be back.

Steve Clifford

This was touched on above, but the team’s rotations have been terrific recently. Chris Douglas-Roberts is playing with confidence, and Clifford seems content to let that ride as long as it’s working. Meanwhile, his tinkering with the second-unit lineups paid off tonight.

Game #66: Minnesota Timberwolves at Charlotte Bobcats preview

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C.

— The Timberwolves are a team that should be better than they are. They’re in the top ten in both offensive and defensive rating, but are just barely treading water in the Western Conference at 32-31. Their offense does some things at an elite level, especially protecting the ball and offensive rebounding, but their poor three-point shooting (and shooting in general) has  hurt them. Defensively, they force a lot of turnovers and avoid fouling, but aren’t particularly good at keeping the ball out of the basket: opponents average 47 percent from the floor against them, the second-worst mark in the league. If the Bobcats can protect the ball and rebound well, they’ll have a good shot in this one.

— Sixth man Gary Neal will return to the court tonight, after sitting out Wednesday’s game due to an “internal team matter.” More options are always welcome, and it’s a good sign to see the team handle issues like this professionally. But Neal might have seen his minutes drop anyway, as Chris Douglas-Roberts has been on a tear recently. In four starts while Gerald Henderson was injured, CDR averaged 12.5 points on 45 percent shooting and 53 percent on three-pointers. He continued that hot play from the bench on Wednesday, adding 10 points in 21 minutes. I’d expect to see Douglas-Roberts get the bulk of the backup time at shooting guard as long as he’s playing this well.

— The Bobcats will be defending their seven-game home winning streak, while the Timberwolves have struggled on the road at 14-18. Minnesota should be well-rested, though, with their last game coming on Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Prediction: I like the way Charlotte’s been playing recently, but not this matchup. Kevin Love’s range will  pull the Bobcats big men away from the basket, and Al Jefferson got beat up inside by Nikola Pekovic in the teams’ last matchup. This should be a closer game than that 119-92 piledriving, but I think Charlotte still drops this one 98-90.

Bobcats make a statement in D.C.

Charlotte Bobcats 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 Washington Wizards
Josh McRoberts, PF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +5

A ho-hum kind of game for McBob truly. Did absolutely nothing to hurt his teams chances here, and in typical fashion, didn’t force anything tonight.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +15

Here we are. A contest in which MKG is a factor on the stat sheet. He played 30 min tonight in part because of how good of a job he was doing guarding Trevor Ariza and in part to being so huge for Charlotte on the glass. Three offensive rebounds that were in traffic of four Wizards players – fantastic hustle. Not giving up on plays.

Al Jefferson, C Shot Chart 36 MIN | 13-20 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | +16

Speaking of ho-hum. The scoring 25+ points every night and grabbing 10+ rebounds thing simply isn’t coming easier to any other center in the NBA currently. There simply isn’t a big out there right now that can guard Jefferson – stupid efficient from the floor.

Kemba Walker, PG Shot Chart 37 MIN | 5-13 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +8

Kemba played with an extra spark all night to my eye. Likely, due to the fact that he was playing against John Wall and Wall was getting the best of his early on. Kemba made a running 27 foot three-point shot as the shot clock expired with 4:30 to go in the 4th – it proved to be the dagger, extended the lead to 90-80 and the Bobcats never looked back.

Gerald Henderson, SG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 6-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +12

Oh man, the fadeaway corner jumper was wet tonight! It looks like a horrible shot to the eye, but it’s a rhythm jumper just like Kemba’s rhythm dribble jump-shot. Neither appear to be extremely efficient basketball plays, but it’s what Hendo + Kemba feel comfortable with. Welcome back Hendo. He probably helped himself a bit as Clifford tries to juggle CDR, Tolliver, MKG’s and Hendo’s minutes.

Anthony Tolliver, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -2

Tolliver is letting shots fly on-the-catch these days. Rightfully so, as he’s one of the best in the league as far as 3FG% is concerned (41%).

Cody Zeller, C Shot Chart 17 MIN | 2-2 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +8

The two turnovers in 17 minutes hurt the grade a bit, but Zeller continues to be a beast on the glass in the minutes that he gets — averaging 12 REB/40 min and 5.4 RPG (in just 17 min/game) in the past five games.

Bismack Biyombo, C Shot Chart 12 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3

Not much to note here. He still can’t catch the ball. That’s something.

Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 11 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +5

Did not turn the ball over and that’s the most encouraging aspect of this game for Luke. He hit a big pull-up jump-shot early in the 4th quarter to extend Bobcats lead to three and keep the momentum on Charlotte’s side.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG Shot Chart 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +1

‘Ooooo, kill ‘em’ from behind-the-arc right now my friend. CDR has knocked down 15-26 from deep in the past seven games. Don’t read too much into CDR’s lesser minutes tonight – Hendo was back in the lineup and had it going offensively + MKG was competent offensively while bringing toughness. Only so many minutes to go around and an aspect of the playoff push that will be interesting to closely watch.

Gary Neal, SG Shot Chart DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

After going through warmups with the team, dressed out and seemingly ready to go last night, Neal was benched the entire game. Why?

—–>

“I made a mistake,” Neal told the Charlotte Observer after the game. “Me and coach talked about it and we’ll move forward from there.”

Gary Neal hasn’t had a phenomenal year when it comes to his attitude and behavior – that dates back to Milwaukee. Enough Gary. My true thoughts were on record last night. Read below.

Steve Clifford

Whatever it was that Gary Neal did/said, good for you sitting him. Playoff season is coming and in the past 48 hours Clifford has come out and said that the guys “who don’t get it won’t play” and benched his 6th man. Does everyone understand who’s in charge around here? Okay, good.

Three Things We Saw

  1. With the win tonight, the Bobcats have evened the series series with the Wizards, pulled within 2 1/2 games of the 6th seed and will still see Washington two more times this season (home-and-home). Opportunity.
  2. Charlotte went 17-22 from the free-throw line tonight while the Wizards were just 6-9. The Bobcats also scored 11 fast-break points (mostly off of Washington turnovers), bettering only 2 for the Wiz.
  3. The next three games for Charlotte include only one against an opponent that is over .500 (T’Wolves): vs. Minnesota (Friday), @ Milwaukee (Sunday), vs. Atlanta (Monday).

Game #65: Bobcats @ Wizards Preview, Links + BRAND NEW PodCats Show

Who: Washington Wizards vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Wizards Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Verizon Center, Washington D.C.

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Efficiency
Defensive
Efficiency
Pace
Washington 33-30 103.0 (18) 102.7 (11) 95.6 (19)
Charlotte 30-34 99.7 (25) 101.5 (7) 95.3 (21)

Injuries:

Washington: Kevin Seraphin (Probable), Nene Hilario (OUT)
Charlotte: Brendan Haywood (OUT), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Wizards Bobcats
PG John Wall Kemba Walker
SG Bradley Beal Gerald Henderson
SF Trevor Ariza Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Trevor Booker Josh McRoberts
C Marcin Gortat Al Jefferson
6th Man Martell Webster Gary Neal
  • Tonight the Bobcats play a big time game and one that will have heightened implications for the backend of the eastern conference playoff race. Currently, the Wiz sit 3 1/2 games up on Charlotte and in the fifth seed, but a Charlotte win tonight would pull them a game closer in the standings and tie the season series – there will be two more games left in this series after tonight (home-and-home). Tie-breaker very much still in the air.
  • Gerald Henderson will rejoin the starting lineup tonight after missing five games due to a right calf strain that he suffered in Oklahoma City. This is good news for the Bobcats, I think, right? CDR has been phenomenal in Hendo’s absence and I’ve referenced several times this week that I believe how Clifford manages CDR + Hendo’s minutes as the playoffs approach will be very interesting. CDR in Hendo’s absence (5 games): 30 MPG, 12.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 52.2 3FG%.
  • Steve Clifford has made it clear that the guys “who don’t get it” will not play as this team approaches the post-season. Clifford has a playoff squad and he’s going to coach them like that for the remainder of the season.
  • I joined Conor Dirks of the Wizards ESPN TrueHoop blog ‘Truth About It’ to talk about tonight’s matchup and many other intriguing questions regarding the Bobcats. Interesting stuff and props to TAI – they’re doing some awesome coverage of the Wiz.
  • Washington lost their starting center Nene seven games ago to an MCL injury, but they haven’t lost a step since that — the Wizards are 5-2 without Nene. Marcin Gortat, the Wiz’ current starting center has certainly not been anything to mock – past five games: 14 PPG, 11 RPG, 60 FG%. Gortat is a very smart player on both ends of the floor. He’ll be a tough matchup for Jefferson tonight because of the fact that he defends so well with both arms – an underrated defensive skill for a big man.
  • LISTEN to Al Jefferson talk to Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo on ‘SVP & RUSSILLO’ (ESPN Radio) – talking about his decision to sign in the off-season with Charlotte, the Bobcats success this season, his NBA journey + success and what it’s like playing for owner Michael Jordan.
  • And last, but certainly not least, LISTEN to the latest PodCats Show. Doug Branson and I talk about the playoff push, minutes distribution, and fair warning, I get a little passionate talking Biz and MKG at one point. Enjoy.
  • Prediction tonight: 96-95 Bobcats.

Bobcats finish season sweep of Nuggets; Get to 30 wins

Denver Nuggets 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
105 Charlotte Bobcats
Josh McRoberts, PF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +6

McBob found the touch from downtown again – makes him so much more versatile as the “connector” for this offense.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Shot Chart 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +3

Unfortunately, this is the type of stat line we’ve come to expect from MKG. His impact on the game is not going to show up in any statistical categories very often – making the opposition’s best wing scorer work hard for what he gets, early in the game, definitely has value.

Al Jefferson, C Shot Chart 39 MIN | 12-23 FG | 2-6 FT | 13 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 26 PTS | +2

He came out-of-the-gates firing on all cylinders offensively – puts the defense in a bad situation and forces the extra defender to come, which most coaches want to avoid until they absolutely have to. Big Al got some help from the rest of the roster, but the Bobcats are going to ride this guys back as far as he’ll carry them.

Kemba Walker, PG Shot Chart 41 MIN | 6-15 FG | 12-12 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | +3

12-12 from the foul line? Yes! That’s efficiency. At Walker’s prime, whenever that comes, this is the type of stat line that we should expect to see. Somewhat consistently. He’s still learning how to get his around the rim, being the smallest guy on the floor + still learning how to get to the foul line consistently. If nothing else this season, Kemba has shown us all that he’s going to play PG a long time in this league because of his ability to take care of the basketball — only 9.5% of Kemba’s possessions end up in turnovers – that’s good for 10th in the NBA among PG’s that play 30+ min/night.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 2-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +2

CDR is now probably officially listed as a threat from deep in the scouting report for Charlotte now. He’s comfortable taking the three, taking some pressure off of Tolliver + the deep shots he’s knocking down are coming during much needed times. Again, should be very interesting to see how the minutes are managed between CDR and Hendo as the playoffs approach.

Anthony Tolliver, PF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +8

Mini-slump: Tolliver is now 2-14 from behind-the-arc in the past three games. He’ll be fine.

Cody Zeller, C Shot Chart 10 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +1

Saw decreased minutes tonight due to Josh McRoberts + Gary Neal performances. Continues to be much more efficient with his minutes and looks so much more comfortable on the floor.

Bismack Biyombo, C Shot Chart 9 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +5

Just keep fighting Biz. I know you will and not complain – that’s exactly why you’re more valuable to this team down the stretch than most realize.

Gary Neal, SG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 7-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +1

Bravo! This is the performance that we’ve all been waiting on. When Neal is stroking it like this and can be on the floor with Kemba, it gets fun. Again, Neal being able to keep a distributors mindset while also being a more all-around offensive threat (than Sessions) will prove Charlotte the winners of the trade when we look back.

Steve Clifford

The Kemba, Neal, CDR/Tolliver, McRoberts, Jefferson lineup is so much fun.

Three Things We Saw

  1. This is Charlotte’s 7th straight home win. The franchise record is nine.
  2. The Bobcats win didn’t help them gain ground on Brooklyn for 6th in the east as they also beat Toronto. It appears as if it’s going to take Charlotte a rather Herculean effort to catch the Nets – they’ve won seven of nine and scored 100+ points in six of those wins.
  3. Charlotte will get a day’s rest and play @ Washington tomorrow night. A divisional foe that they’re chasing – currently in 5th + 3 1/2 games up.

Game #64: Bobcats vs. Nuggets Primer + Links

Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Denver Nuggets

What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Efficiency
Defensive
Efficiency
Pace
Charlotte 29-34 99.6 (25) 101.6 (7) 95.2 (21)
Denver 27-35 103.1 (16) 105.2 (21) 100.0 (3)

Injuries:

Charlotte: Gerald Henderson (game-time decision), Brendan Haywood (game-time decision), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)
Denver: Nate Robinson (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bobcats Nuggets
PG Kemba Walker Ty Lawson
SG Chris Douglas-Roberts Randy Foye
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Wilson Chandler
PF Josh McRoberts Kenneth Faried
C Al Jefferson Timofey Mozgov
6th Man Gary Neal Evan Fournier
  • The settling news: The Nuggets had to play last night. And not only that, but they lost and had to go to overtime to do it. Denver should have heavy legs tonight coming into Charlotte. The unsettling news is that these are the winnable home games that Charlotte simply can’t afford to slip up in – Bobcats are three games behind a surging Brooklyn team for the #6 spot in the east and five games ahead of ninth-place Detroit.
  • Charlotte and Denver are propped right next to each other in Marc Stein’s latest ESPN Power Rankings — Bob’s don’t move from last week.
  • The Nuggets are 3-12 in their past 15 games, so it’s safe to say that it’s been a struggle since the all-star break. Trending in the wrong direction has been fueled by turnovers – Denver is averaging 17.4 TO/game in the past 15, opposed to 15.8 for the season. For the season, Denver has been an average to slightly below average defensive team, but in the past 15 games they’re sporting a pathetic 110.1 defensive rating. Probably a bi-product of the tank rank rising more than anything.
  • Trying to stop Ty: Lawson has has an all-star type of year for the Nuggets and he’s probably the only guy on this roster that’s involved in the long-term rebuilding plan. He’s averaging 18.5 PPG, 9.0 APG + sporting a PER of 20.36 (5th among PG’s) this season. Ultimately, Lawson is pretty much everything that Bobcats fans should want Kemba to become.
  • Gerald Henderson is considered a game-time decision tonight, but Chris Douglas-Roberts has filled in very nicely lately. CDR is averaging 13.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG + shooting 8-13 (61%) from behind-the-arc since sliding into the starting lineup for Hendo last Wednesday. CDR allows the team to play a little bit faster and also space the floor much more effectively. It will be very interesting to see how Clifford manages his minutes once Hendo does return.
  • Sounds like Brendan Haywood is very close to returning to action and will basically depend on when he feels most comfortable with it. I doubt that he’d slice into Biz’ minutes too much and would likely only serve as a value on night’s that Charlotte played an opponent with huge centers.
  • Charlotte has to jump on Denver early tonight and use the Nuggets heavy legs against them. If you want to realistically believe that the Bobcats can catch Brooklyn for the #6 then tonight is absolutely a MUST-WIN.
  • Prediction: 99-92 Bobcats.

Game #63: Bobcats @ Grizzlies Preview

Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Grizzlies Home Game

When: 8:00 PM ET

Where: Live at FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Efficiency
Defensive
Efficiency
Pace
Memphis 35-26 102.7 (19) 102.4 (11) 92.2 (30)
Charlotte 29-33 99.8 (24) 101.4 (7) 95.2 (21)

Injuries:

Memphis: Mike Miller (DTD)
Charlotte: Gerald Henderson (OUT), Brendan Haywood (OUT), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Grizzlies Bobcats
PG Mike Conley Jr. Kemba Walker
SG Courtney Lee Chris Douglas-Roberts
SF Tayshaun Prince Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Zach Randolph Josh McRoberts
C Marc Gasol Al Jefferson
6th Man Tony Allen Gary Neal
  • Charlotte is in the ‘Grindhouse’ tonight – what a great nickname for an arena. So fitting for the style that Memphis loves to play. The Grizzlies use less possessions of any team in the NBA. This group wants to muddy the water, play as physical as possible, and yep, grind it out for W’s. Oh, and they’re really good at it.
  • The Grizzlies will play a ton of high-low with Gasol and Randolph. Really, they’re going to force the ball to the rim in pretty much anyway they can. Only 15.9% of Memphis’ total points are accounted for from long range (three-pointers) – that’s easily the lowest percentage in the league. For example, the Bobcats are bottom-5 in this category, but 18.7% of their total points come from the bonusphere. Clifford: ‘Pack it in tonight boys.’
  • Charlotte and Memphis are both stingy on allowing their opponents to grab offensive rebounds – the Bobcats are 2nd in the league in defensive rebounding rate (77.1) and the Grizzlies are 5th (75.8). On the same token, Charlotte will concede offensive rebounding to get back on defense. With Gasol and Randolph, the Grizzlies will not – Memphis boards 27.8% (6th) of their offensive rebound opportunities. Something has to give here, and how effectively the Bobcats are able to limit the Grizz second chance opportunities tonight will carry serious weight on the result.
  • Al Jefferson: past 5 games — 29.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 63.5 FG%. How will Memphis choose to handle him? My guess is that Gasol will garner the assignment on his own until it doesn’t work – there’s a good chance that could be the case. Look, Gasol is a solid post-defender, but there’s simply been no one that can stop Jefferson recently. Nobody.
  • Charlotte needs to look to push the pace as much as possible tonight. Simply put, it’s just not a great idea to allow the Grizzlies defense to get set. CDR, I believe, can help this idea – he’s eager to get on the glass (9 REB last night) and can bring it up immediately.
  • I do believe the Bobcats can win this game tonight, but they’re going to have to help Jefferson out and knock down some outside shots. Gary Neal and Anthony Tolliver need to be big off the bench tonight and the second unit, in general, needs to give more support than they have recently. Time for Luke Ridnour to wake up – I understand very clearly that he’s not going to be able to get where he wants on the floor with the dribble at this point in his career, but the turnovers have to stop – just clear the ball, get the team into their sets, and, for goodness sakes, makes a hand-to-hand pass please. Okay, sorry, I had to get that rant out.
  • With a win tonight, the Bobcats would draw even with Brooklyn in the win column and 1 1/2 game back of the #6 spot in the east.
  • Prediction: 90-87 Grizzlies.

Charlotte Defeats Cleveland Behind An Offensive Show From Al Jefferson

Cleveland Cavaliers 92 Final

Recap | Box Score

101 Charlotte Bobcats
Josh McRoberts, PF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +6Hiding in the shadow of offensive powerhouse Al Jefferson, Josh McRoberts had a solid overall performance in Charlotte’s victory over Cleveland. The 6’10 forward had a pretty solid performance on both ends. The 37% perimeter shooting threat was pretty solid from beyond the arc. In addition to his solid perimeter prowess, McRoberts secretly had a stellar 7 assists.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Shot Chart 24 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +6Could this game be the starting point of MKG becoming a solid mid-range threat? Probably not. But it was still great to see MKG nail a solid amount of mid-range jumpers which has been by far his biggest weakness since his rookie year. On the defensive end, Kidd-Gilchrist did a pretty solid job defending Cavs forward Luol Deng.

Al Jefferson, C Shot Chart 39 MIN | 12-18 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 4 TO | 28 PTS | +18Since being snubbed from February’s All-Star game, Big Al has been on an offensive tear. That amazing stretch continued as the depleted Cavs front-court wasn’t able to handle the offensive firepower. Throughout the game, Jefferson was able to work his way in the low-post and step back to hit some mid-range jumpers. One of the biggest flaws of Big Al’s performance against Cleveland was his work on the defensive end. The 6’10 center was extremely hesitant on the defensive end which helped lead to some pretty easy points for Cleveland in the first half. However, Jefferson was definitely focused in the closing minutes of the game as he had some key blocks and a steal that helped Charlotte seal the victory over the Cavs.

Kemba Walker, PG Shot Chart 35 MIN | 5-13 FG | 9-9 FT | 3 REB | 14 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +12In one of his better overall performances of the season, Kemba Walker was an absolute force in multiple aspects of the offensive game. Kemba’s ability to find open shooters off simple penetrations. While his shooting stroke has been inconsistent, Walker has continued to be a solid distributor which has helped push Charlotte to their current position. Defensively, Kemba did a pretty good job in terms of defending Kyrie Irving who did the majority of his damage against Neal and Ridnour

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG Shot Chart 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +12With Gerald Henderson on the mend, Chris Douglas-Roberts is having the opportunity to showcase his skills in a much bigger role. While he’s shown flashes of being an extremely solid NBA player, he definitely showcased his full arsenal in Charlotte’s victory. From his work from the perimeter to the defensive end. CDR was able to utilize his 6’7 frame to swipe two steals and be an effective but yet aggressive defender.

Anthony Tolliver, PF Shot Chart 22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +6While Tolliver didn’t have the biggest stat line , he still filled in his role as a pretty solid reserve player. Tolliver was able to grab some offensive boards (even though he didn’t capitalize on those opportunities) while being an effective help defender. Tolliver wasn’t quite effective from beyond the arc but he was still able to help the Bobcats in other aspects of the game.

Cody Zeller, C Shot Chart 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -1The continued offensive improvement of Cody Zeller has been a slow process through his rookie season. As we move into the closing weeks of the 2013-14 campaign, it’s clear that Zeller is slowly improving because of the simple fact that he’s being more aggressive in terms of penetrating to the rim. Zeller has always been an athletic forward but he was extremely tentative during the first few months of the season.

Bismack Biyombo, C Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5With Jefferson continuing to be spectacular, Biyombo’s opportunities are going to be limited. While he only played three minutes, Biyombo was still as effective as he can be.

Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 0 PTS | -3Everybody on this Charlotte team had an above-average to spectacular performance besides Ridnour. While he’s trying to work himself into the Bobcats rotation, the 6’2 vet was absolutely awful. He had absolutely no control over the offense, was two to three steps too slow on defense and had four turnovers in 13 minutes. Woof.

Gary Neal, SG Shot Chart 18 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -6While my displeasure for Neal has clearly been apparent since his days in Milwaukee, I have to admit that he had a solid performance. Even though he wasn’t hitting his perimeter jumpers, Neal was still able be effective from the inside of the perimeter through a plethora of mid-range shots. With that said, Neal struggled on the defensive end because he couldn’t keep up with Kyrie Irving.

Two Things We Saw

  1. While the Bobcats had a pretty solid game, they weren’t able to have consistent momentum on Cleveland. Even though Cleveland is pretty solid competition for the Bobcats, Charlotte definitely played a better overall game than the Cavs.
  2. While Jefferson’s continued excellent performance has definitely been amazing the Bobcats are still struggling to find a consistent #2 and #3 offensive weapon. Kemba Walker has been pretty good but his inconsistency could be a concern as Charlotte moves closer to the playoffs.