Save Money in this Sunday's paper

Observations

comments

Kemba Walker’s 31 points good for a Bobcats victory over Nets

Walker hit two free throws with six seconds left to clinch victory

1121bobcats
Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
Charlotte Bobcats Kemba Walker (15) shoots and scores over Brooklyn Nets Reggie Evans (30)(left), during Wednesday night's game played at Time Warner Cable Arena, Nov. 20,2013. Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

More Information

  • Bobcats - Nets highlights
  • Bobcats 11.20.13
  • Bonnell: 6-6 start feels different than 7-5 last season
  • Box score
  • OBSERVATIONS

    •  The upper deck of Time Warner Cable Arena looked so empty Wednesday night you could have thought it was closed off.

    •  As expected, Al Jefferson (bone bruise along his right ankle) sat out the Nets game. Bobcats are hopeful Jefferson practices Thursday and plays Friday against the Phoenix Suns.

    •  The Bobcats got back to generating trips to the foul line in the first half, but they weren’t converting those opportunities: 9 of 18 on free throws.

    •  Owner Michael Jordan was at courtside, next to the Bobcats’ bench. He doesn’t sit down there all that often these days.

    •  Jefferson’s absence was balanced off by the Nets being without center Brook Lopez (sprained absence). The Nets went relatively small in Lopez’s absence, starting Reggie Evans in the middle. That gave Bobcats coach Steve Clifford the flexibility to play Jeff Adrien more as a center.

    •  Just from the signage around Time Warner Cable Arena, it’s apparent the Bobcats’ business side has made progress this year in selling sponsorships.



Fifty-two points in the paint? In a single game? Without center Al Jefferson? This can’t be the Charlotte Bobcats.

It was on Wednesday night, and all that scoring in the lane was worth a 95-91 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Credit point guard Kemba Walker (31 points on 12-of-20 shooting), who relentlessly drove to the rim.

The Nets, a surprising 3-8 this season, played without starting center Brook Lopez. Point guard Deron Williams left the game in the first half with a sprained ankle and big man Kevin Garnett was ineffectual (five fouls in 21 minutes).

The lane was open all night, in part because of the way the Nets chose to defend.

“They play up a little bit. Their four-man (power forward) comes up on the screen,” Walker said. “We were being aggressive – there were a lot of open lanes and we just took them.”

Bobcats coach Steve Clifford, whose team improved to 6-6, added perspective on Wednesday’s strategy.

“They got up into us (defensively). They were really forward on us, so you drive it on them,” Clifford said. “When they’re up in the passing lanes, when a team denies, the best thing to do is drive the ball.”

That differential – the Bobcats scored 52 points in the paint, the Nets 34 – was the game on a night when the Bobcats didn’t shoot well from the foul line (18 of 30) and got sloppy with the ball down the stretch (two Ramon Sessions turnovers against the trap that helped cut a 16-point lead to two with 12 seconds left).

Walker settled it with two free throws with six seconds left. This might have been his best game of the season after a rough run. He shot poorly over the seven games played since injuring his left shoulder in a road victory over the New York Knicks Nov. 5.

“He’s been banged up. The other night in Chicago he played with sore ribs,” Clifford said. “I thought you could tell right away that he was on the attack tonight. He won’t sit (Walker has never missed a game as a Bobcat). He wants to play through things. So he’s been less than 100 percent.”

Walker wouldn’t accept the “I’ve been hurt” out.

“No, not at all. I was just off,” Walker said when asked if the injuries have hindered him. “Everybody is banged up at this point in the season.”

The Bobcats started out 7-5 last season, then lost 18 straight games. Then-coach Mike Dunlap said he didn’t trust the early record and certainly that’s how it played out in a 21-61 season.

Clifford and Walker suggest the progress is more real this time around.

“We’re defending and rebounding. We have yet to play any sustained time with our best offensive player,” Clifford said, referring to Jefferson (right ankle). “We’re playing young guys, so there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

Or as Walker put it, “We’re capable of a lot. We’re being more consistent and Al will help us a lot because he draws so much attention.”

BOBCATS 95, NETS 91

BrooklynMINFG-AFT-AOR-TRAFPt
Pierce34:343-115-70-22412
Garnett21:052-20-00-8354
Evans16:500-10-00-3020
Williams13:201-52-20-1214
Johnson35:376-133-40-22119
Blatche28:5211-143-44-71225
Plumlee21:493-33-61-3039
Anderson28:475-102-20-12216
Livingston26:001-50-00-7532
Terry4:250-10-00-0120
TTaylor8:410-20-01-2320
Totals240:0032-6718-256-36212791

Percentages: FG .478, FT .720. Three-Point Goals: 9-19, .474 (Anderson 4-6, Johnson 4-9, Pierce 1-3, Blatche 0-1). Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: 18 (17 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (Garnett 3, Livingston, Pierce). Turnovers: 17 (Livingston 5, Pierce 3, Blatche 2, Garnett 2, Plumlee 2, Williams 2, Johnson). Steals: 6 (Pierce 2, Anderson, Blatche, Livingston, Terry). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 1:33 first; Livingston, 4:00 third.

CharlotteMINFG-AFT-AOR-TRAFPt
Kidd-Gilchrist26:164-100-21-4138
McRoberts29:012-62-43-7506
Biyombo22:334-61-31-6049
Walker35:1012-203-42-52131
Henderson30:454-124-52-25213
JTaylor17:090-40-00-1220
Zeller19:002-62-33-4146
Sessions26:445-113-50-01113
Adrien25:262-53-45-10037
Tolliver7:561-10-00-2002
Totals240:0036-8118-3017-41172095

Percentages: FG .444, FT .600. Three-Point Goals: 5-13, .385 (Walker 4-7, Henderson 1-2, Kidd-Gilchrist 0-1, McRoberts 0-1, Sessions 0-2). Team Rebounds: 12. Team Turnovers: 15 (23 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (McRoberts 2, Adrien, Walker). Turnovers: 15 (Kidd-Gilchrist 5, Sessions 3, Walker 2, Zeller 2, Henderson, McRoberts, J.Taylor). Steals: 7 (Henderson 2, Zeller 2, McRoberts, J.Taylor, Walker). Technical Fouls: McRoberts, 4:32 third.

Brooklyn2921202191
Charlotte3023301295

Att.—13,843 (19,077). T—2:19.

Officials—Scott Foster, Eddie F. Rush, Scott Wall.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases