It was only an exhibition. And Kemba Walker only shot 4-of-13 from the field. And he worked primarily against Atlanta's second- and third-team guards.
But every time Walker had the ball you sat up a little straighter and stopped talking with the people next to you because you knew something was going to happen and it probably was going to be good.
Walker, whom Charlotte selected with the ninth pick in the 2011 NBA draft, scored 18 points in 19 minutes. The Bobcats scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, and Walker scored eight of them. He scored the final five.
He hit a 19-foot jump shot with 91 seconds remaining to give Charlotte a 76-75 lead. After the Hawks scored, he drove into the lane and with 55.8 seconds remaining floated in a shot from 5 feet. With 3.1 seconds remaining, he missed a free throw and then hit one.
The game was one of the best and most intense exhibitions the Bobcats have played, and they beat Atlanta 79-77 Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Walker, who is listed at 6-foot-1 but might be, say, 6 feet, can get his shot any time he wants. All right, he can get his shot any time he wants when he's guarded by reserves and by guys who will next play in Europe or South Dakota.
But Walker created openings with such apparent ease. A tiny juke, a slick crossover, and suddenly he's free.
It's as if he was back at Connecticut, which he led last season to the NCAA championship.
If Monday night is indicative, the NBA will be easier for him than college ball, and here's why. The Bobcats take precedence in their gym. They don't have to share the weight room. They get the good food. At Connecticut, the more successful women's team probably did.
What Walker did best Monday was draw fouls. He shot 11 free throws, which was seven more than any of his teammates and seven more than anybody on the Hawks.
Most of Walker's moves aren't the towering kind that will make fans jump and shout. They're subtle. A head fake here, a change of direction there and he's open. But he's not wide open. He's as open as he needs to be.
Opponents figure they can disrupt his shot. They leap in and Walker goes to the line.
Charlotte coach Paul Silas tried to make sense of Walker's game and said: "He's just, just, just, got it. He understands the game."
Later Silas talked about Walker's "knack for the game."
That knack was not reflected in frenzied, hurried moves but in his poise. He was calm.
Fans weren't. They chanted his name when they saw him on one knee waiting to make his Charlotte debut and they screamed when he hit his first shot, a perfect 3.
As the game wound down, the crowd was his, as was the outcome.
So it was one night, an exhibition, Charlotte's first of the season.
But if you didn't walk out of the building smiling, and at least entertain the idea that the Bobcats might have something special in Walker, you missed a good show.