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Bobcats Best the Best, Beat Pacers by 22

(Photo Courtesy Jeff Siner – Charlotte Observer)

Still struggling through the adversity of a 61 point effort by LeBron James just a few nights prior the Charlotte Bobcats knew they had to rebound fast before things began to get out of hand. Continuing an unneeded losing streak after a rough road trip would only hurt their possible higher playoff seeding. Who was the team standing in their way? The best current team in the entirety of the NBA: The Indiana Pacers.

(Photo Courtesy Jeff Siner – Charlotte Observer)

Most would criticize the Jordan-owned franchise before tipoff saying “this team stands no chance against Paul George” or “Charlotte just got 61 dropped on the so how could they knock off Indiana?” These ridiculous comments only led to a stronger drive from the entire Bobcats roster to prove the whole entire NBA world wrong in just one nights notice. The Cats were on the hunt, the hunt for a statement win.

Dominique Wilkins even took it to the point where he exclaimed he could drop 40 on the Bobcats defense. Something needed to be proved to the thousands of fans who labeled the team as “weak” and “soft”. Tonight Queen City’s heart and soul rose above the media criticism and comments as they defeated the Indiana Pacers by a commanding 109-87 score.

The score doesn’t necessarily tell you all the tricks of the trade, but it gives you an understanding of how this entire match up went down. The Bobcats came out running and never looked back. It was clearly their game from the start. Charlotte ended the first quarter with a phenomenal and unexpected 28-8 lead behind 12 points from Al Jefferson. Wait just a minute there…Jefferson’s magic didn’t just stop there!

Coming off of an overshadowed 38 and 19 performances against the Heat, “Big Al” made it his mission tonight to give the Cats the upper edge on the offensive side as well as the rebounding end. He once again succeeded and simply took over the game since the moment the ball was tipped. Jefferson clearly made Roy Hibbert look like a non-factor as the All-Star (cough cough…should have been Jefferson’s) only managed to compile 4 points (2-8 shooting) and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes of play.

Jefferson went on after the 1st quarter to drop 22 more points(16-25 on the night) through the next 3 and even play some noticeably solid defense (something he has struggled with since the start of his time with the Cats). The former Jazz big man also gave a game high effort of 8 rebounds. Al is nearly averaging 27 points since the All-Star break.

Kemba Walker also added 19 points and 9 assists in the winning effort. The Pacers won 14 of the last 15 games against the Cats, which included an average winning margin of about 18 points over the past 5 match ups. The Pacers played sloppy defense, had too many high and low shooting points, and couldn’t stop turning the ball over. The Pacers had 18 turnovers compared to the Bobcats 7.

Charlotte shot 51 percent against the NBA’s top defensive minded roster. But do you really want to know the underrated star of the night? The man who had the best contribution? The player who has been severely criticized by the media over the past few days…former 2nd overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.  Many believe and specifically know that the reason for LeBron’s 61 was MKG’s poor defense. You can’t bounce back better than he did tonight as Kidd-Gilchrist played phenomenal on-ball defense guarding Paul George. Not only did George struggle while going against MKG but he actually played the worst game statistically out of every single game he has played in his NBA career. The 2014 All-Star shot 0-9 from the field and had 7 rebounds. He finished the night with 2 points after going 2-2 from the free throw line. That’s how you bounce back from adversity. Hats off to the former Wildcat!

All in all one of the best nights for the Bobcats this season, and a night all Charlotte fans should sleep happily. Your favorite team just knocked off the best team in the entire NBA…by 20! The Cats next game is Friday against Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Time Warner Cable Arena. This is another great chance to watch the always interesting Kemba vs. Kyrie match up.

#BobcatsAreBack

 

Daniel Carney covers the Charlotte Bobcats for rantsports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_jcarney, subscribe to him on YouTube where he talks sports, and add him on Google+.

 

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