After the Bobcats' deplorable first quarter (3-22 from the field), Charlotte ratcheted up the pressure and became more efficient on offense to score 29 second quarter points and trail by two at the half.
In the third quarter the Bobcats kept pressing and pushing for turnovers and fast break baskets. Charlotte was able to push the lead out to 10 and took what appeared to be a huge momentum swing at the Hornets.
But New Orleans (of course) came back and made the fourth quarter very interesting. Too interesting for Bobcats fans but probably just interesting enough for everyone else listening via the internet, I'm guessing.
The Hornets chipped the lead to just three with a little less than five minutes to play. Coming out of the 4:50 timeout Bismack Biyombo grabbed a rebound and went to the line hitting one (!) of two making it 81-77.
Rookie Brian Roberts (16 points) was impressive leading some of the charge back for New Orleans. New Orleans simply made better plays in the fourth quarter and cut into the lead while Charlotte's shots were less effective.
Ben Gordon went to the line with the Bobcats up one with just under three minutes to go and hit one. The Bobcats then turned New Orleans over one more time to get a breakout and a foul on the other end sending Ramon Sessions to the line. He also hit one of two which must have annoyed head coach Mike Dunlap in the process.
Lance Thomas was destroying the Bobcats down low in the fourth quarter and hit another big bucket with just over two minutes cutting the lead to one. It's not good that the Bobcats couldn't stop Thomas down low with Mullens and Biyombo on the floor.
Roberts and Thomas teamed up to put the Hornets up one on dunk down low. Sessions then hit one to tie the game before a lane violation (yeah, a lane violation...preseason and all) wiped off the go ahead free throw.
Which is perhaps poetic.
After a flurry of action back and forth including:
- another pick-and-roll conversion from Roberts and Thomas
- Tyrus Thomas hitting the underneath portion of the rim on a layup attempt to take the lead
- Mullens making a nice defensive play and steal (!)
- Brendan Haywood missing two free throws down one point
- New Orleans hitting two subsequent free throws to take a three-point lead
the Bobcats had possession with a chance to tie.
Gordon had already hit the side of the backboard at the end of the first half and air-balled a go-ahead shot minutes earlier but he still figured to be the one taking the final attempt. Instead, what sounded like a nice play was drawn up to send him towards the base line and kick out to Mullens for three and the tie. It worked perfectly, but the Bobcats ran out of time. His shot was a hair late and Charlotte lost 90-87.
You know, it is preseason. But it is still disappointing to see the Bobcats squander a lead they played well to get. Michal Kidd-Gilchrist did not have a great game tonight and it took a while for anyone to get going. We probably shouldn't get too worked up over this one. Still, I'm sure Dunlap and company want to see these guys capitalize when wins are within reach.
Mullens played well in the second half and had one of his streaks from three, finishing with 15 points (3-7 from three) and five rebounds. Ben Gordon (15 points), Ramon Session and Gerald Henderson (11 points each) were the only other Bobcats in double figures.