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The Bobcats continue to show that they are a team to pay attention to in the Eastern Conference as the hold on to defeat the Pelicans, 90 – 87. What looked to be a game that the Bobcats were going to cruise through, the Pelicans decided to pick up the defense on Al Jefferson, forcing the Bobcats to make jumpers. The Bobcats held on to win, but it was definitely a nail biter down the stretch.
Al Jefferson did Al Jefferson things last night. He produced 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. The game was a great one to attend, as I was there in section 116 cheering the team on. The Bobcats looked to just be on cruise control for the entire game. Sporting sizable leads throughout the entire game; the Pelicans were never closer than 6 to 12 points…until the 4th quarter. With a back-to-back being played last night and today, the Bobcats were able to give extended rest to the starters. The look of the reserves was a bit different, however, because with Pargo in over Sessions, there was a certain amount of rust on him playing at game speed. Pair that rust with the extended rest, and we saw a lead slowly dwindle away.
I don’t blame the close game on the coaching staff. They were able to give the starters a break since they have to face the Grizzlies tonight, so that rest was greatly needed. I blame the close game on 2 things; Al Jefferson started being swarmed. When Al couldn’t score, the Pelicans started catching up. They forced the Bobcats to make jumpers, and the biggest weapon for that to happen was sitting on the second row of the bench in a suit (Can’t wait to have you suited up Luke and Gary). This was the smaller of the issues. The much larger issue is that of foul shooting. The primary issue for the gap being closed was that the Bobcats shot a dismal 69% from the foul line. 11 points were left on that line. 11 missed foul shots will not win basketball games against the stronger teams in this league. With that said, it was enough to beat the Pelicans. Anthony Davis was held to 18 points and 13 rebounds and he fouled out of the game.
I want to focus just a little on Cody Zeller. He might have played his best basketball game of his short NBA career last night. Cody was actively moving, challenging on defense, and was not hesitant to attack the basket and to be active on offense. I had attended the game on Wednesday and I had noticed that he’s being more aggressive and looks to be slowly getting used to the speed of the NBA. Last night showed that growth even more. I truly love to watch him play. He’s not a super-exciting player, but he is a blue-collar worker on the court. He’s making put-backs on missed shots, grabbing rebounds, and he is scrambling for loose balls. He had 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. Keep an eye on him because he is catching on to this whole NBA thing, and I think by playoffs time, we’re going to be glad he’s on our team. Next season…things will get interesting.
Tonight we face the Memphis Grizzlies in game 2 of a back-to-back. This will be our last home game before we hit the road to take on the Spurs, Thunder, and Heat. Memphis is one of those tougher teams that I was talking about. They are 31 – 23 and very into the Western Conference playoff race. A win against them tonight would be a huge boost as we take the road for the 3-game trip. The challenge tonight will be Big Al versus Marc Gasol and Randolph. We’re going to need the frontcourt to play big for us. We also need to make foul shots and make some jump shots. I really wish that Milwaukee would get Sessions and Adrien’s physicals done so that we could utilize Neal’s shooting ability, but we just have to hurry up and wait. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope that we will have Luke and Gary by the time the road trip begins. They will have a few days to get used to the rest of the team and get acclimated with the players and how they play.
In the meantime, let’s play hard and get the win tonight!
Let’s Go Cats!