(Photo Courtesy TONY AVELAR – AP)
Tuesday marked the return of starting point guard Kemba Walker as he made it just in time to take on the Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. The Bobcats beat the Warriors back on December 9th by a score of 115-11 behind 31 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 15 fourth quarter points from Kemba Walker on his home court. This time we were in Oakland, on Steph Curry’s home court to take on the Warriors. So could the Bobcats do it again and beat the Warriors? Let’s see if they did.
Much like their 1st meeting the Bobcats got off to a great start as they dominated the 1st quarter by a score of 26-13. Kemba Walker had 3 of his 7 assists in the 1st quarter as he found Al Jefferson, Ramon Sessions and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for points. Kemba was active from the get go as he challenged Curry on the defensive end and made his life difficult. The Bobcats could not have asked for a more ideal 1st quarter.
The 2nd quarter was much more even then the 1st. Al Jefferson led the Bobcats in scoring with 6 points in the second but it was clear that the Warriors were slowly but surely finding themselves. They edged the Bobcats out by a score of 25-26. Golden State was shooting a very uncharacteristic 33% at the half, which left many of the Oracle Arena faithful very flabbergasted.
Al Jefferson continued to work in the 3rd quarter as he collected 9 points and left the Warriors with more question then answers. The Bobcats just kept feeding him and he kept delivering the goods. It also helped that Gerald Henderson had it going as he had 6 points himself in the 3rd quarter and was presenting matchup problems of his own. Marreese Speights hit a 40-foot half court buzzer beater to get the Warriors crowd back into the game but the Warriors were still down 72-57.
The Warriors fans had reason to believe they could chip away at the lead and make a comeback after that half-court shot. The only problem was that from the word "go" in the 4th quarter Anthony Tolliver and Kemba Walker tag-teamed for their own splash brothers moment. Tolliver hit back to back 3-pointers and Kemba chipped in with a three off a jab step. The Bobcats went on a 9-2 run early in the quarter and it was garbage time from then on for the Warriors. Kemba Walker and the Bobcats sweep the Warriors 2-0 this season winning by a score of 91-75.
The Warriors shot 31% for the game which is their worst output in that department since 2004. This Bobcats defense is as stout as they come when healthy, and as a Bobcats fan, I couldn't have ever envisioned us being this good of a defensive team after last year. Al Jefferson had himself yet another big night with 30 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Kemba Walker had only 7 points but managed to get 6 rebounds, 7 assists and a steal to help lead the team to victory. Gerald Henderson had himself a night with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal which really freed up Big Al in the post. Last but not least Anthony Tolliver had 11 points off the bench as well as two 3-pointers that salted this one away for the Cats.
The Bobcats finish the west coast road trip with a 3-1 record and wins over the Nuggets, Lakers and Warriors. Great trip for us and I didn't think we'd be able to win more than 2 to be quite honest. The team seems to be more in sync then a month or so ago and if they can start winning at home, who knows how good we can be.