Same teams, same results. The Bobcats punished the Detroit Pistons last night at home 116-96 to sweep the three game season series and place themselves comfortably ahead of Detroit by 2 1/2 games for the last spot in the playoffs.
The Bobcats got off to another fast start to put the Pistons in an early hole, hitting seven of their first nine shots while the Pistons once again struggled out of the blocks. An early thunderous baseline dunk by Gerald Henderson and a three great blocks by Cody Zeller off the bench really set a physical and energetic tone for the Cats early in the game. From that point on, even with a valiant comeback effort in the second quarter, the Pistons looked well done. It did look as if the Pistons might be able to make it a game after the end of the first half, but the Bobcats went on a 17-3 run on a few early chip shots from Al Jefferson and some key three pointers from Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Josh McRoberts to dispel any such notions of a comeback and take a 70-50 lead. After the run, the Pistons all but gave away the game and the Cats had their sweep of the series.
Al Jefferson once again had a great game, scoring 29 points on 12 of 20 shooting with 8 boards. He was unstoppable in the post but also managed to hit six nice 20 footers away from the basket that drove Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond nuts. But if I was to name an MVP for this game it would have to go to Kemba Walker and his career high 16 assists, complimented by his 24 point outing and solid defense on Brandon Jennings.
There were a lot of great chemistry moments in this game where you could tell the team was starting to get it on the offensive end, especially with the suddenly spectacular three point shooting of Josh McRoberts. The Cats are really doing well with their inside out approach of finding Big Al early in the post and letting him try to find a quick shot or outlet on the perimeter. McRoberts, who is shooting 56 percent from deep in the last five games, hit on 3-4 three pointers and was a match up nightmare for Greg Monroe.
Cody Zeller also had arguably one of his best games, hitting two tough low post shots and a quick 25 footer early in the first quarter to go along with three great blocks, including one spectacular block in transition. It’s flashes like these that make fans remember why the Cats drafted him with the fourth pick in the draft. Zeller finished the game with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Although I wish the Bobcats could play the Pistons every night, the Cats will next host the New Orleans Pelicans this Friday at 7:00 as they try to improve their 25-30 record and take one step closer to .500. The Bobcats were routed by the Pelicans 105-84 in their first match up this season on the road; but were without Jefferson for that game.