Charlotte enjoyed a win and a pair of relatively competitive games as they reached the halfway point of their season.
Monday, Jan. 21: Houston Rockets 100, Charlotte Bobcats 94
Kemba Walker put on one of the best shooting performances of his short career in this MLK Day matinee, hitting six of his seven three-point attempts and scoring a career-high 35 points in the loss. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much help — Ramon Sessions chipped in 19 points, but the rest of the team had a relatively quiet day. Charlotte held the Rockets to 39 percent shooting, but committed 27 personal fouls and sent Houston to the free throw line 41 times.
Wednesday, Jan. 23: Atlanta Hawks 104, Charlotte Bobcats 92
This one wasn’t particularly close, but was still an improvement over the 113-90 beating Atlanta put on the Bobcats in their previous game. Sessions scored a season-high 27, but the Bobcats lost the game on the defensive end. Atlanta shot 49 percent from the field and 48 percent from three-point range. The Hawks have proven to be a matchup nightmare for the Bobcats, sweeping the season series with the win.
Saturday, Jan. 26: Minnesota Timberwolves 101, Charlotte Bobcats 102
Can the Bobcats play the Minnesota Timberwolves a few more times this year? Minny has provided Charlotte with two of their 11 total wins, and both contests ended in dramatic fashion. Kemba Walker iced the game when the teams met back in November, and Gerald Henderson did the honors this time. The shot came at the end of a possession that featured at least 47 near-turnovers, but you take what you can get with this team. The Bobcats snapped a 16-game losing streak with the win.
Links of note:
— Queen City Hoops took a look back on the first half of the season: Mathew offered 10 observations on the year so far, and the rest of the writers held a roundtable to discuss the team’s biggest surprises and disappointments, and where to go from here.
— With New Orleans officially announcing it will rebrand as the Pelicans starting next year, speculation ramped up about the Hornets nickname returning to its birthplace. The Charlotte Observer reports that the team is conducting market research to see if bringing the name back would pay off.
— Also from The Observer, Rick Bonnell had a nice article about balancing team development with a win-now attitude.
— Forbes released their annual valuation of NBA franchises, and the latest rankings were a bit of a mixed bag for the Bobcats. On the plus side, the team cut its annual losses and saw an increase in reported value, from $277 million to $315 million. Despite those gains, the team slipped three spots to 29th in overall value. As always, these reports need to be taken with a grain of salt; team officials speaking to the Charlotte Business Journal have already disputed the numbers in the article.
— Ian Levy at Hardwood Paroxysm praised Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for his smart shot selection: “…It’s refreshing to see a rookie wing, one selected at the top of the NBA Draft, not fall prey to the lure of shot attempts and the pressure to assume offensive leadership. The shots Kidd-Gilchrist is taking this season require much more effort and patience to attain than simply pulling up for a jumper anytime the mood strikes.”
— Ben Swanson at Rufus on Fire took a look at the team’s small-ball lineups in Wednesday’s game against Atlanta.