The Bobcats came into Thursday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies playing very well. The Bobcats had been getting key contributions from their most important pieces, which had carried them to a higher seed in the Las Vegas Summer League tournament. Today was either win and keep playing, or lose and, well, play again tomorrow anyway. But I promise there was lots of drama!
Jeff Taylor came out firing in the first quarter, shooting 5-7 from the field and 12 early points. As a team they were able to make the Grizzlies pay for their mistakes off of turnovers with eight fast break points. Between the Grizzlies' sloppiness and their poor shooting start, they found themselves down a whopping 32-17 at the end of one. Their ball movement was also strong, highlighted by Jerome Dyson's five early assists, and five other Bobcats recording an assist.
The second quarter was more of the same poor Memphis shooting and ball security as the Bobcats were able to build significant advantages in both points in the paint and fast break points. This time Dyson got more involved in scoring, finishing the half with 9 points and 7 assists. Taylor led all scorers with 16, however, and Cody Zeller had 10 points and five rebounds at the break. The Bobcats led at the half, 53-34.
Yet, like we've seen before in Vegas (and well into the previous regular seasons), the team has had some trouble holding leads and being able to play the full forty minutes. There was just no way the Bobcats were going to continue shooting as hot as they were, just like there was no way the Grizzlies were going to continue shooting as poorly, and that held true for both teams. Sure enough, Memphis went 10-for-16 from the field in the quarter while the Bobcats struggled with turnovers of their own. What was a 19-point lead at halftime was down to three entering the fourth quarter.
At this point, the game developed a feeling like it was slipping away and the Bobcats would need to do something to remedy that. However, that was difficult when Memphis' Vander Blue got hot from distance and the Grizzlies took the lead for the second time. The Bobcats were able to save the game late behind a big block from Jeff Taylor, followed by a Cody Zeller dunk late in the game to give Charlotte the lead for good.
Jeff Taylor played well, finishing with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists. Although he did play well, he only contributed two points to the cause in the second half.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist received the night off just because, but Jerome Dyson played well in the first half, and although he was a part of the problem in the second with his only four turnovers coming in the final quarters, he helped them get out to a big lead in the first.
Cody Zeller also finished with 18 points in addition to his nine rebounds. Bismack Biyombo's hands showed flashes of improvement, catching three passes for dunks, but that was just about where the night ended for him. Even Patrick Ewing Jr. completed the team effort, shooting 3-for-3 for 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Bobcats will play again Saturday against the undefeated D-League Select at 8pm EST.