|Jeffery Taylor, SF 30 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | -8
Taylor hounded DeRozan throughout the game, but had his biggest defensive play late, blocking a jumper by Calderon with 13 seconds remaining to help keep the Bobcats lead.
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 31 MIN | 4-7 FG | 6-7 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -2
Another strong all-around game from MKG, though not as many rebounds to show for it. Like Taylor, his biggest defensive play came late, as he blocked Andrea Bargnani’s jumper as time ran out to preserve the win (the current play by play isn’t reflecting it as a block, but from the replays it looks like he got a piece of it).
|Brendan Haywood, C 26 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -4
Decent effort by Haywood, though the Bobcats’ bigs struggled to contain Jonas Valanciunas, who finished with 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting.
|Byron Mullens, C 25 MIN | 4-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -5
D on offense, B on defense (the 8 rebounds), so Byron gets a C. As I was afraid of, it seemed like the matchup with Bargnani brought Mullens’ desire to put up threes back to the surface, with 5 attempts on the night. A couple of quick fouls didn’t help Mullens offensive flow either, picking up his second just 4 minutes into the game.
|Kemba Walker, PG 39 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 19 PTS | -5
Only 3 free throw attempts for Kemba despite a shot chart that is about half in the lane – no matter, it was another good night for Kemba with more points than field goal attempts, plus 7 assists for good measure. Oh, and like MKG and Jeffery Taylor, his biggest defensive play came with the game in the balance, as he stripped Demar DeRozan on his way for a layup or dunk with 3 seconds left (the ball went out of bounds off Kemba to give Toronto their last attempt, but without Kemba’s quick hands, the Bobcats would be at 5-5 now).
|Bismack Biyombo, PF 26 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +11
This was the best game Bismack has played this year – he made an effort to run to the rim and transition and his teammates rewarded him. He also had a nice half hook from the middle of the lane for a basket after creating space (legally) with his shoulder. Good help defense (with a block late like so many of his teammates) and active on the boards. An encouraging showing.
|Ramon Sessions, PG 33 MIN | 5-19 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 14 PTS | +9
Ramon couldn’t get many of his attempts to fall tonight, but they weren’t bad shots – he was penetrating at will against Calderon but couldn’t get the attempts to fall. Until the game was on the line that is, when he hit 2 of his last 3 from the field and a couple of free throws to get the Bobcats the lead.
|Ben Gordon, SG 23 MIN | 4-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | +9
Not a great shooting night for Ben – particularly when he missed a couple of open looks late from three. But not bad shooting. And like his teammates, a good defensive effort, with 2 blocks coming from the undersized shooting guard (who even lined up against Linas Kleiza at the 3 for a stretch).
Three Things We Saw
- What an effort from the Bobcats – they had a 10-point lead in the final quarter, and let that slip away as they scored just 2 points over a 5 minute stretch. But they didn’t stop competing when the Raptors took a 3-point lead. Just enough offense, and then tenacious defense, with 5 blocks by the Bobcats over the last 3 minutes of the game (again, counting one for MKG on the last shot – if someone who saw a replay from a different angle tells me he didn’t get a piece of it, I can update this).
- The Bobcats outscored the Raptors in the paint, 50-42, off of turnovers, 21-16, and off fast breaks, 16-13. The way the Bobcats attack the basket, in transition and in the half court is a big improvement from last year, when there was far too much reliance on mid-range jumpers (and not just Byron Mullens – Kemba, Corey Maggette, Tyrus Thomas and Gerald Henderson were all up there in attempts). Last year, the Bobcats led the league in attempts from 16-23 feet and by a wide margin. They’re now middle of the pack and the offense is benefiting. See the stats at hoopdata.com shot locations
- Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy the day and be thankful for this season’s Bobcats – they could very well tie last season’s win total before November ends.