If you tuned in tonight after hearing great things about the Bobcats' first summer league game you were probably disappointed. Or, your mind was blown when the Bobcats pulled out a four-point win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 68-64.
There is no logical reason Charlotte should have won this game tonight, other than the fact that this is summer league and the opposition was the summer league team of the Cavs.
For most of the night, Cleveland looked like the less awful team. Rookie big man Tyler Zeller was impressive, and lottery pick Dion Waiters had some nice moments, most noticeably a deep two-point shot late to put Cleveland ahead by one.
Kemba Walker had a tough night and was not hitting from anywhere. Byron Mullens shot a lot and when that went south, shot some more. Bismack Biyombo worked hard. The Bobcats looked pretty awful, yet somehow fought all the way back to actually take the lead on a Walker free throw with under a minute left.
Waiters then drilled that long shot but Charlotte went to Walker who delivered on a nice drive that put the Cats up one again with just 6.4 second left. Unfortunately for Waiters, he received the subsequent inbounds pass and called a timeout the Cavs did not have. Even in summer league, where each player gets 10 fouls, this is against the rules. Charlotte milked the game away at the free throw line and improved to 2-0 in Las Vegas. On a side note, everyone associated with the team should proceed directly to the roulette table.
Regardless of the way this game ended, it was not a great game by any Bobcat but it was a win for the team. Hopefully this is just the difference Michael Kidd-Gilchrist makes. There was a noticeable drop in intensity from the first summer league game tonight. Keep in mind this is still summer league and even in the regular season you can't make too much of everything from game to game.
The Bobcats didn't have the same intensity at all times as they did two nights ago and they didn't look as good. Saying that was all about Kidd-Gilchrist is probably putting too much on the young rookie, but his absence was certainly noted. Kidd-Gilchrist sat out with soreness in his knee from the game on Friday night. It sounds purely precautionary but every Bobcat fan should go ahead and go where you go and do what you do just in case.
The bright spot once again for Charlotte tonight was the play of rookie Jeffery Taylor. This rookie looks like he could be the best draft pick (given place of selection and value) the Bobcats have ever made (pause for laughter and blank stares). He's an athletic defender whose offense looks to have been vastly undersold. He's got a fluid offensive game and looks comfortable when he receives the ball on the offensive end. He looks as ready to play NBA minutes as anyone in this summer league thus far.
Taylor was one of three Cats in double figures (12 points) along with Walker (13) and rookie Carlon Brown (11) from the University of Colorado. Friday night's leading scorer, Mullens, was held to just nine points and was zero for the game from beyond the arc. For the record he took seven three-point shots but did chip in eight boards, as did Biyombo to go along with six points.
It can't be overstated, I have no clue how Charlotte won this game. But, it's summer league and even in it's darkest moments...and please believe there were some Walter White style dark moments...it was a chance for this team to get better. Any win is a good win and Charlotte got one tonight.