The Charlotte Bobcats were able to hold off the Brooklyn Nets’ rally in the fourth quarter and seal a 95-91 victory. Charlotte looks to have better composure, but the offense remains a concern.
Charlotte’s defensive improvement continues to show. The Bobcats held their opponent under 100 points for the ninth time in 12 games. The Bobcats are fourth in points allowed, sixth in defensive rating and eighth in opponents field goal percentage.
Despite their defensive success, the Bobcats were held without a point in the last three minutes of regulation until Kemba Walker’s free throws with six seconds left.
Without Al Jefferson, the Bobcats are vulnerable to longer scoring droughts. Jefferson gives them the option of a go-to scorer in the low post that can consistently get high percentage shots. If Jefferson is in and out of the lineup most of the season, the Bobcats might not have enough offensive punch to stay competitive through the remaining 70 games.
Without Jefferson, Charlotte somehow managed 52 points in the paint against Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, Walker was the best player on the floor Wednesday night. Walker scored 13 of his 31 points in the third quarter when the Charlotte Bobcats outscored the Brooklyn Nets 30-20. Walker caught fire from 3-point range, knocking down four three pointers.
Hopefully this is the breakout game Walker needs to get out of his shooting slump.
Jeff Adrien’s energy and physical play off the bench is an unexpected, but welcome contribution to the team. Adrien had seven points and 10 rebounds off the bench against Brooklyn.
Adrien has a 21.2 player efficiency rating in eight games. He’s averaging 12.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per 36 minutes.
Right now, Adrien is the Bobcats best reserve big man. Coach Steve Clifford has raved about Adrien’s work in practice and it’s quick to see why. Adrien doesn’t do anything more than the things he knows he can do and he’s been very good at that.
Jefferson’s return should decrease his minutes, but Adrien is making a case for a consistent role in the rotation.
IN THE BONUS
- The Bobcats are 6-1 in games decided by six points or fewer. They were 13-13 in those games in 2012-13.
- Deron Williams sprained his ankle in the second quarter when he landed on Walker’s foot. Williams appeared to be in serious pain and left the game after hitting a pair of free throws. Williams finished with four points, two assists, and a rebound in 13 minutes.
- “The defense is something that we’ve got to get better at,” said Coach Jason Kidd, whose Nets gave up 52 points in the paint. “It’s something that we were working on the preseason and was something we thought coming into the season we could hold our hat on.”
- The Nets have faced a lot of early criticism for hiring Jason Kidd as their coach over the summer. Brooklyn is off to an underwhelming 3-8 start and Kidd doesn’t appear ready to oversee an aspiring veteran championship contender. Williams’ injury could make even more difficult for the team.
- Jeffery Taylor was held scoreless following a career-high 20 points in Chicago Monday.
- At 6-6, the Bobcats are just one of the six teams in the Eastern Conference playing at least .500 basketball.
- Paul Pierce scored 12 points on 3 of 11 shooting. Pierce is averaging 13.1 points on 40 percent from the field.
- Andray Blatche was Brooklyn’s best player Wednesday. Blatche scored 25 points on 11 of 14 from the field with seven rebounds. Kevin Garnett’s foul trouble allowed Blatche to see extra time and he made the most of it. Since being waived through the amnesty provision by the Washington Wizards, Blatche has played very well in Brooklyn.
ABOVE THE RIM
- Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: Fifty-two points in the paint? In a single game? Without Jefferson? This can’t be the Charlotte Bobcats.
- Jonah Mars, From Russia With Dunk: This game was very similar to a lot of Nets losses this year. They hung around in the first half and then had a really, really bad third quarter. The Bobcats tried to let the Nets back into the game in the fourth quarter by shooting around 20 percent from the field, but the Nets couldn’t prevent offensive rebounds, ehich eventually brought about their downfall.
- Greg Pietras, Queen City Hoops: Another mediocre scoring night from Henderson, but his passing and active defense helped make up for that. Until his shot starts falling, he needs to find other ways to produce.
- Reed Wallach, Nets Daily: The Nets’ poor defense continued in the second quarter when they allowed the Bobcats to shoot 55% and again score 18 points in the paint. Their defense was so bad in the first half that Ian Eagle called it, “swiss cheese tonight.” To put the Nets’ awful first half defense into perspective, they allowed 15 layups and one dunk, and the Bobcats scored a total of 53 points in the first half; consider this—they average 88 points per game.
- Ben Swanson, Rufus on Fire: This year, the Bobcats excised their chief chemistry problem (Ben Gordon, via DNP-CD’s) and have utilized a balanced ball distribution attack through screens on offense as their defense has rounded into better shape.