The Charlotte Bobcats gave a strong effort in their season debut against the Houston Rockets Wednesday night. Ultimately, the Rockets showed why many in Houston are talking about winning an NBA championship this season.
After giving up 90 points or more once in preseason, the Bobcats allowed 96 and finished with a 107.2 defensive rating. The defense showed positive signs early, but transitioned back into old habits.
Howard and Omer Asik dominated the glass, combining for 40 of Houston’s 54 rebounds, likely to the dissatisfaction of coach Steve Clifford.
If there’s anything to take away from preseason and the first game, the Bobcats are going to be in a lot more games than they’ve been used to. The structure is transparent and the effort is much more noticeable.
- Josh McRoberts continues to be a fantastic bargain for the Bobcats. McRoberts was the team’s leading scorer with 15 and could have easily played more than the 29 minutes he did. McRoberts knocked down a trio of three pointers and had some nice passes as well.
- Cody Zeller was the favorite by fans to start opening night, but so far the gap is too large between the two to justify the rookie starting. Through preseason and the first game, there’s been no display of Zeller’s potential as a stretch forward.
- Al Jefferson led the team in field goal attempts with 19, but only shot 31% from the field. Jefferson looked like someone who only played one preseason game and some change. There were some encouraging moments; Jefferson bailed the sluggish offense out with a few shots
- If you wanted to buy stock in Kemba Walker, it should have been done after the first quarter. Walker got worse as the game progressed and seemed out of rhythm. He showed some good moves offensively in the first quarter that are worth a look.
- Following the game, Clifford told the media Ben Gordon would not eat into the minutes of Jeff Taylor. Taylor had a strong preseason and Clifford doesn’t believe in playing a surplus of wings. You have to feel bad for Gordon, who feuded with Mike Dunlap last year and is in a contract year. Gordon isn’t useless; he can bring more to the table than past overpriced players DeSagana Diop and Tyrus Thomas. Remember, Gordon led the team in three pointers made last season–an area the Bobcats are struggling in.
Here’s what other publications and blogs are saying about the Bobcats first game of the new season:
- Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continues to struggle to score if he’s not in a transition opportunity, a carryover from the preseason. The rust of missing three weeks with a right ankle sprain certainly was apparent for Bobcats center Al Jefferson. Houston center Omer Asik didn’t have much trouble disrupting Jefferson’s up-and-under moves at the rim. Jefferson needs time to get back his conditioning and re-establish synergy with teammates.
- Spencer Percy, Queen City Hoops: When you see the Bobcats drive, penetrate and kick – then not take the 3, but make another dribble penetration, let’s make something clear. It’s not by design, it’s because the team simply doesn’t have the shooters to space the floor with.
- Andrew Lail, Trade Street Post: What is my biggest concern? Foul Shots! 13 for 20 shooting from the charity stripe is totally unacceptable in the NBA. The Bobcats left 7 points at the line. Shooting 36.7% from the field is totally unacceptable and we will not win a game shooting that poorly. We were out-rebounded 54 – 37. That’s not so bad when all your shots are falling, but ours were not.
- Ben Swanson, Rufus on Fire: Another weird part of this game was the disappearance of Kemba Walker. I don’t know if the Bobcats were trying to get Jefferson in rhythm or what, but Kemba went from a great scoring performance in the first quarter to nearly falling off the face of the Earth. He took 10 shots all game, six in the first quarter, one in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth. He finished with 13 points on 10 shots.