Do you remember Shannon Brown’s run with the Charlotte Bobcats? No? Well, Brown played 30 games for the Bobcats in 2008-2009 before being dealt to the Lakers. There, Brown won NBA championship and saw his career take a huge turn, after it looked like he was approaching bench fodder status.
To show his appreciation for that, Brown hit all six of his three pointers in the 4th quarter of Phoenix’s 117-110 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Brown finished with 24 points off the bench.
The Bobcats kept the game close, and were down by just 4 at the end of the third quarter. They were led by 24 points from Byron Mullens who hit six threes in the game, after struggling from downtown in the first two games. Mullens spearheaded a Bobcats rally, where they traded buckets with the Suns. Kemba Walker finished with 17 points and 8 assists, while Ramon Sessions added 17 of his own off the bench, making 12 free throws.
Rookie Jeffery Taylor filling in for the injured Gerald Henderson finished with zero points in 10 minutes in his first NBA start. It was a bit shocking to see Dunlap go with the rook tonight. I figured Gordon would be used to continue gelling with the second unit, and gave Reggie Williams the best chance to start after that. This will definitely be a developing storyline for the next few weeks as the Bobcats look to fill in Henderson’s production.
Mullens was the big story for the Bobcats on the night. 10 of his 16 shots were three point attempts, and he made 60% from downtown. While some, including me are worried about Mullens and his shot selection with the addition of his three point shot, there are going to be some games like this where it seems he can’t miss.
Regardless, it’d be nice to see Mullens balance out his jumpshooting and play inside. More times than not, Mullens was always behind the three-point line instead of looking to use his size advantage. As a result, he didn’t get a single free throw attempt. Mullens had a big third quarter, but in the 4th the Suns defended the pick/pop plays better and gave him no room to get off a shot. He didn’t score a single point in the 4th.
With neither team being particularly great defensively, the game quickly turned into a shootout. Shannon Brown made multiple bailout threes for the Suns near the end of shotclocks. The Suns energy level on both sides became more obvious and theywere able to pull away to claim victory.
When Phoenix couldn’t convert they were able to secure offensive rebounds to get second and third chance opportunities. The Bobcats had a tough time matching the energy level of the Suns, as well as their shotmaking down the stretch. Ball movement was stagnant, it was hard to convert at the rim, and as usual the team struggled creating easy buckets.
The Suns, while not the most talented offensive team, did a terrific job of moving the ball, getting each player a touch and finding the open man. Michael Beasley finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists, playing a very well-rounded game offensively. Marcin Gortat carried the defensive load, finishing with seven blocks and frequently altering shots at the rim. He also had 23 points and 10 rebounds as well.
If I have to wager, if the Bobcats give up 100 or more during most of their games this season, they’ll likely lose. This team can’t afford to get in offensive duels with teams and really need to tighten up defensively and put most of their energy on that side. Otherwise we’re going to see a lot of what we saw last season.
The Bobcats next game will be at New Orleans on Friday.