HIS NAME IS BYRON MULLENS AND HE GETS BUCKETS - Streeter Lecka
This was a weird game.
It looked terrible early on. The only thing stopping the Suns from running away with the game unbridled was Byron Mullens and, well, themselves. Phoenix shot really well in the first quarter, too -- and yet the Bobcats gave them plenty of open looks they didn't connect on. Somehow, the Bobcats managed to keep it within reach, but towards the end of the first half, they looked doomed.
Marcin Gortat effortlessly dominated the paint for much of the game, slipping through halfhearted box-outs and adeptly using his body and strength and patience to score with ease on the block. Michael Beasley also had a very good first half, getting to the charity stripe, rebounding and even passing decently well. Charlotte was in a 14-point hole playing poor defense. The outlook was not encouraging.
But after an initial Luis Scola jumper to start the second half, the Bobcats came roaring back with a 12-0 run. Mullens' three-point shooting sparked the sudden offense output, helping the Bobcats find a groove. Scola, bless his heart, just kept losing track of Mullens and letting him get free for good looks behind the arc. All told in the quarter, Mullens finished 4-for-6 from downtown.
Though scoreless and mistake-prone in the first half, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also began to get going in the second half. He really knows how to use his body well to finish at the rim on layups. He doesn't always use his explosiveness but understand that with good positioning, he doesn't have to.
With a quarter to go, the Bobcats were down four point in a wacky one. Tyrus Thomas' shooting caught fire (by Tyrus Thomas standards) and he tied it up with a 15-foot right baseline jumper.
With the teams tied at 87, Shannon Brown decided to take things into his own hands. Catapulting three after three while Bobcats defenders rotated late and rushed to get a hand in his face, Brown sunk nearly all of his attempts. He had 12 points in a span of three minutes. The Bobcats defense had tightened its rotations from the first half to the second half, but they simply fell apart at this point as Brown entered odd territory.
Reggie Williams fought valiantly to give the sinking Bobcats hope with six points in under a minute, but the Suns halted the comeback. They finished the game with seven more offensive rebounds than the Bobcats, giving them the slight edge they needed in possessions to outscore the Bobcats.
Despite having two of the most ridiculous goaltends I've ever seen, Byron Mullens has to be the player of the night for the Bobcats. He had a Kobe mindset tonight, even down to trying Bryant's jabstep move at one point. Mullens took no prisoners and apologized for nothing. He had 24 points on 16 FGA, and 8 rebounds. Not bad. Runner-up goes to Kemba Walker, who quietly had a solid game with 17 points on 14 shots and 8 assists.
And weird game of the night goes to Ramon Sessions who had 17 points on 10 FGA, of which he made two attempts. Attaboy, way to get to the free throw line!