I was pretty excited to have the chance to do my first game recap for Sunday’s first preseason game. One of the marvels of technology is being able to view a game live while being hundreds of miles away, so I sought out a stream, but neither team was broadcasting the game. Oh well, at least I still had radio, right? WRONG. Somehow, NBA League Pass Audio and the markets of Charlotte and DC were not airing today’s game. That means that the few thousand people who were in attendance at Time Warner were the only people to witness this.
I get it, I do. I realize that these are two of the league’s worst teams in recent years going up against the NFL, and that might not be worth setting up broadcasts for two, but not even one? So maybe they didn’t think it was a fiscally viable thing to and maybe they could also force some pockets in the seats by doing so.
And I know, I know, I know…it’s just a preseason game. I still don’t care and want my basketball.
Instead the Rufus community got by with Gamecast and Bobcats.com’s TV Companion. Honestly, taking part in my first game thread was pretty fun, but I still would’ve loved to have caught the action as it was happening. In place of live action we had to deal with tweets from the media about Bradley Beal guarding MKG and looking at the boxscore and wondering, "Wow, Tyrus is really getting to the line. That means he has to be playing aggressively, right?"
Talk about a bunch of teases.
The game started out pretty well and the Bobcats led by as much as 14 at the end of the half while also never trailing. It wasn’t a perfect half for the ‘Cats, as the turnover and rebounding battles were about even, but the Bobcats forced the Wizards to shoot incredibly poor (30%) while shooting well (50%) and making their free throws as well.
Yes, it’s just the preseason, and the Wizards were missing John Wall, Nene, and Trevor Booker, but they still had to come to play and they did. Kemba Walker showed an improved shot selection, Gerald Henderson and MKG did a little bit of everything, and Ben Gordon was efficient, too.
For a relatively young team, the Bobcats put forth a very even effort, and never really allowed the Wizards to get close. Again, it’s preseason and a depleted Wizards team, but you still have to go out and actually do it. They even got to the line over forty times, but certainly could’ve shot them better. Getting to the line at least means they’re being aggressive, and hopefully those free throws start to fall more often.
It was obvious Mike Dunlap was a rookie coach in that he spent much of the game tinkering with lineups, but that’s exactly what he said he would do. This includes the super small lineup of Sessions-Kemba-Gordon-Henderson-Biyombo lineup he went with in the middle of the 4th. Although it was odd Matt Carroll saw twice as many minutes as Jeff Taylor considering the Bobcats had nothing to lose if they chose to let Taylor play through his growing pains. Additionally, it seems the players have taken to heart Dunlap’s message of playing hard, improved defense and staying aggressive.
Even though it was a good night, the Bobcats better hope that Sunday wasn’t indicative of what to expect as far as offensive production from the frontcourt. Between Biyombo, Mullens, Diop, Thomas, and Haywood, they only managed to shoot 13-27. Considering where big men are supposed to shoot, this is pretty poor, and you want that percentage to be at least 50%. They weren’t close to that for much of the game, either. While Charlotte big men got to the line twenty one times, they only converted eleven of those for points. As a whole, this group has to improve, but there is still time.
At any rate, there was a lot to like Sunday. The Bobcats were able to stave off a late-game comeback by the Wizards led by big three pointers from Byron Mullens who finished with 18 points and Gerald Henderson’s 19 points. On top of that they got key contributions from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ben Gordon. Washington rookie Bradley Beal finished with 18-3-2 to lead the Wizards as well. After all, the Bobcats held on for a 100-88 win.
If Sunday’s game was any indication, this is going to be an interesting team to follow this season. And maybe we’ll get to watch some of them.