MINNEAPOLIS Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap saw former Connecticut star Kemba Walker play pre-NBA a lot more than most NBA coaches, since he was an assistant at Big East rival St. John’s.
Dunlap has often said Walker’s greatest talent is the ability to make “incredibly hard shots.’’ Wednesday’s 89-87 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves defined that ability.
That Walker waved off Tyrus Thomas’ pick-and-roll option, simply breaking down 6-foot-6 Alexey Shved for that 19-foot game-winner with less than a second left, was impressive.
“Kemba has done that his whole career,’’ Dunlap said. “What I liked was that he pushed the pick away and said, ‘This is my game.’ It’s vintage, what he is, and I’m his biggest fan.’’
• Bobcats power forward Byron Mullens has bought into defense. Look at his numbers Wednesday: 15 rebounds and four blocks to go with 12 points. Dunlap had a funny line about changing Mullens’ mindset:
“We found out a long time ago with Byron that threats work.’’
Yes, that was intended to be funny, but Mullens is intensely concerned with not letting down Dunlap. He said as much a week ago. Dunlap said they formed a bond in the off-season.
“Byron and I worked out all summer,’’ Dunlap said. “That relationship is more than player-coach. He’s very young and I’m used to coaching those guys (from his college experience). We buy into each other.’’
Mullens had an X-ray on a sore ankle after the game. No fracture detected.
• Without being asked, Dunlap brought up some player displeasure with his long practices earlier this season: “We’ve heard some squawking about that. Hopefully that quiets down, now that they’ve seen the results.’’
• The Bobcats held an opponent under 40 percent from the field for the second game in a row. Much of that was about the 12 shots the Bobcats blocked Wednesday. It wasn’t a team record (16), but it was impressive.