If there’s one thing the Bobcats have improved on this season, it’s their composure. Rich Cho’s offseason acquisitions and Mike Dunlap’s head coaching have put this team in the right position to make better decisions in close games. That improvement showed tonight, as the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Washington Wizards, 108-106 in double overtime. The Bobcats improve to 7-5, matching their win total from last season, while the Wizards fell to 0-11.
In today’s game preview we posted keys to the game on both sides of the ball. Let’s see how each one went:
- Do not understimate the Wizards. The Bobcats didn’t take this take this team lightly at all, and played a tough, competitive game in the nations capital. Sometimes fans see that a team is struggling or in the Wizards case, winless, and assume it’s an easy victory. The Wizards though have been competing hard.
- The Wizards defense will surprise you. It took overtime for the Wizards to give up 100 points. The Bobcats shot just 41% from the field, though they did shoot well from distance.
- Keep getting to the line. Ramon Sessions once again led the team in free throw attempts, getting 11 of them. A lot of players followed behind him, as the Bobcats finished with 36 free throw attempts on the night. This was three less than Washington’s attempts, but this certainly helped the Bobcats offensively.
- Byron Mullens. Mullens played one of his best games this season. 27 points, 8 rebounds, 5-10 from three, 9-15 from the field in 41 minutes. Mullens led the team in scoring and showed why the team is going to need his offense to stay in games. He’s our best offensive weapon in the frontcourt for better or worse. Tonight was evidence of the former.
- Bench scoring. The Bobcats bench was led by 40 combined points from Sessions and Ben Gordon. For the game, the bench had 45 points. It was a solid performance from the two leaders in the second unit, but Washington still outscored them with their first-ranked bench scoring. The Wizards bench had 68 points.
- Consistency. There were a few slip ups, but overall the Bobcats played well defensively. They held a terrible Wizards offense to 36% shooting and 22% from three. The Bobcats forced 20 turnovers and scored 24 points off it.
- Defend the three point line. The Bobcats shot 22% from three, big check here. The Wizards aren’t a good three-point shooting team, but they aren’t afraid to take the shots.
- Rebounding. The Bobcats were outrebounded big tonight, mainly on the offensive glass. The Wizards were +13 with their offensive rebounding which was the difference in the total rebounding battle. Neither the Bobcats or Wizards are strong rebounding squads so something had to give, and unfortunately it wasn’t in the Bobcats favor.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Another pretty good night from MKG defensively.
- Close the game out. It took two overtimes, but the Bobcats got the job done, held their composure, and were able to keep the Wizards winless. Clearly there are things that still need work, but winning close games like these will definitely help this young team in the long-term.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the win for the Bobcats. It’s good to know that you can win a game like this, especially when your best player so far this season in Kemba Walker went 3-17. Next up the Bobcats will go on the road for a tough test against the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday.