Rookie guard Dennis Schroder scored on a floater with less than three seconds remaining to lift the Atlanta Hawks to an 87-85 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night. Schroder, the 17th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, had 9 points and 7 assists in his NBA debut.
After Schroder’s runner, the Bobcats had a chance to win the game, but Jannero Pargo missed a three pointer with time expiring.
Mike Scott led Atlanta in scoring for the second consecutive night with 19 points in 28 minutes. Kyle Korver had 14. The Hawks shot 42% from the field.
Ramon Sessions led Charlotte off the bench with 17 points and Kemba Walker added 12. The Bobcats shot just under 37% and struggled executing half court offense. The turnovers and shot clock violations from last season came back into play. The offense picked up when the pace quickened, as the Bobcats guards were able to use their speed and athleticism.
First round pick Cody Zeller benefitted from a faster tempo. The rookie had 9 points and 5 rebounds in his debut. Zeller made a couple of impressive finishes, including a dunk off the glass from Walker in transition. Zeller struggled defensively; unable to stay in front of Atlanta’s forwards to keep them out of the paint. Paul Millsap in particular, had his way with Zeller early on.
Al Jefferson, the Bobcats big free agent acquisition, had 7 points and 9 rebounds in his first game with Charlotte. Jefferson showcased a few of his premier low post moves, that’s expected to become a focus of the Bobcats offense. The team struggled with the entry pass to Jefferson, mostly due to the lack of shooters in the starting lineup.
Charlotte’s defense struggled in the beginning, but showed some encouraging signs down the stretch. New coach Steve Clifford experimented with a big frontcourt of Anthony Tolliver, Josh McRoberts and Bismack Biyombo. Clifford has been adamant about using size to maximize team defense. The trio finished with positive +/- ratings.
Charlotte will be back in action Friday, when they face the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO.