The Bobcats fell to the Rockets 96-83 to fall to 0-1 on the young season. Despite the 13 point loss, the game was a lot closer than the box score shows. Houston held a six point stiff arm on Charlotte for much of the contest.
Charlotte got off to a nice start. They came out of the gates full of energy and forced Houston to call the first time out of the game, though the ‘Cats may have been a little too eager early, as they committed five quick fouls to give the Rockets the penalty bonus for more than half of the first quarter. The Bobcats continued their success by holding Houston to just 17 points in the first frame. Ultimately, they had a 19-17 advantage after one period of play.
The Bobcats were not as strong in the second as they gave up an 8-0 run which allowed the Rockets to take a 35-29 lead. After the Bobcats were forced to call timeout, we knew that the next few possessions would be key to try and slow the momentum of the Rockets. The second was a very sloppy period for both teams, but the ‘Cats put themselves in a good position being down a manageable six points at halftime. Charlotte also gave up too many three pointers in the first half, particularly to three point specialist Francisco Garcia.
The second half is one that the Bobcats would like to forget. Charlotte allowed the Rockets to shoot 50% in the third quarter which will simply not get it done in the NBA. Josh McRoberts shined for the Bobcats in the second half, showing why Steve Clifford chose to start him in game one.
The Bobcats put together a solid effort on the road against a team a lot of people are picking to win the Western Conference. They will have a great chance to bounce back against Cleveland Friday night.
Grading The Starters:
PG: Kemba Walker - 12 PTS | 5 AST | 4 STL | 3 TO | 33 MIN B-
Kemba did a nice job in the first half. However, in the second half he failed to score. As of the stars of the team, Walker needs to step up and make plays when his team needs him. Unfortunately, he failed to do that tonight.
SG: Gerald Henderson - 11 PTS | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 TO | 30 MIN: C
Hendo did a good job playing defense on James Harden, however, his offense was poor for the majority of the game. Henderson scored 8 in the first half while only tallying 3 in the second.
SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - 7 PTS | 2 AST | 8 REB | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 31 MIN: C-
Kidd-Gilchrist struggled tonight. He didn’t capitalize on free throw attempts, but had some good spritz every now and then.
PF: Josh McRoberts - 15 PTS | 3 AST | 4 REB | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 28 MIN: B+
Even though McRoberts had a couple noticeable mistakes in the fourth, the forward’s third quarter was excellent, keeping Charlotte in the game with two huge three-pointers.
C: Al Jefferson - 13 PTS | 1 AST | 8 REB | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 28 MIN: B-
Big Al had some occasional struggles in game one, as expected. If Jefferson is going to shoot as often as he did tonight, he is going to have to capitalize on more of his shots. Fortunately, his shooting should improve as Jefferson knocks off the rust and gets healthy.
- Dwight Howard had already collected 14 rebounds half way through the second quarter.
- Al Jefferson was rusty as expected. Jefferson only played in one of the Bobcat’s eight preseason contests due to a sprained ankle.
- In the second half MKG fell awkwardly to the floor. He stayed down for a minute, but eventually got up with no apparent injury. Some fans might remember that last year in Houston, Kidd-Gilchrist was hospitalized and kept overnight after falling to the ground with was eventually diagnosed with a concussion.
- Bismack Biyombo struggled in game one. He showed some good defense, but his offensive game must improve in order for him to be an impact player.
- Head Coach Steve Clifford did a nice job with the rotation in his first games as Bobcat’s coach. His decisionmaking should improve as the season goes on, but I was pleased with his management.
Next Bobcats Game:
The ‘Cats will return to Charlotte to host Cleveland Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. This will be Charlotte’s home opener. Game time is set for 7 o'clock.
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Lead Hornets Writer: Jonathon Hoppe