Monday, Dec. 3: Portland Trail Blazers 118, Charlotte Bobcats 112, OT
This one set the tone for the Bobcats this week; a high-effort, encouraging game that somehow still ended up in a loss. Charlotte led by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter, but a combination of poor defensive rebounding, turnovers and Luke Babbitt three-pointers was enough to force overtime.
There were still some positives to take away: Ben Gordon exploded for 29 points, shooting 8-of-12 from behind the line (!); Kemba stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 22 points, assisting seven times, and grabbing five rebounds and three steals; and Byron Mullens had two separate monster dunks.
Wednesday, Dec. 5: New York Knicks 100, Charlotte Bobcats 98
After another late-game collapse, featuring four turnovers in Charlotte’s final five possessions, it looked like this game would be heading to overtime as well. J.R. Smith had other ideas.
Mike Prada at SB Nation has a great breakdown of how things went wrong, and Justin Defeo at HoopChalk specifically examined how the team squandered a foul to give on the final possession. Still, the Bobcats played the top team in the Eastern Conference to a near-standstill, and had a chance to win it at the end.
Gerald Henderson had a very solid performance as he continued to play himself back into game shape. He scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds in 25 minutes, and was a large part of holding Carmelo Anthony to 1-of-11 shooting in the second half. The game also gave us Bismack’s Dikembe impersonation, which was a victory in itself.
Friday, Dec. 7: Charlotte Bobcats 93, Milwaukee Bucks 108
Oof. A definite comedown after the Bobcats’ play earlier in the week, and a reminder that this young team is going to struggle with consistency. Milwaukee led by 13 at the end of the first quarter, and built its lead from there. A late run in garbage time, powered by a few Reggie Williams threes and mid-range jumpers from Gana Diop (!!!), cut the score to its final margin.
According to Rick Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer, coach Mike Dunlap will be considering some lineup changes after the loss. Replacing Jeff Taylor in the starting lineup with Gerald Henderson seems like the most obvious move, but Dunlap has also favored Biyombo over Mullens for large stretches this week. Byron played 19 and 14 minutes in the team’s past two games, compared to Bismack’s 30 and 29.
Other links of note:
— Word leaked that the New Orleans Hornets would be changing their name to the Pelicans, potentially opening the door for the Hornets brand to return to Charlotte. Rick Bonnell took a look at some of the realities of a change.
— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Damian Lillard were named the two Rookies of the Month for October/November.
— Aaron McGuire’s excellent Player Capsule series at Gothic Ginobili took a look at Brendan Haywood.
— Kentucky coach John Calipari revealed that MKG had moments of self-doubt about his decision to declare for the NBA. Kidd-Gilchrist has come off as an unusually self-aware player before, but I was a little more surprised at Calipari talking about their private conversation with the media.
— Sean Highkin at the TrueHoop Network’s Portland Roundball Society discussed the Blazers and the Bobcats in a podcast with Ben Swanson of Rufus On Fire.