Still think the Charlotte Bobcats are automatically a bad team no matter what? In Friday night’s matchup against the league’s best team, the Cats made a statement, but still came up short against the Indiana Pacers by a close amount, as they fell 99-94.
How is it possible to make a statement in a loss, you may ask? If you looked at this game before tip-off and told other NBA fans that the Pacers had this one in the bag, they all would most likely believe you. If you said the Bobcats would come out on top in this one to those fans, then they simply would have laughed.
The Cats had a lead with just five minutes left, but once again, couldn’t finish in a big statement game. How could you not be proud of a team that constantly gets trashed about being horrible while they almost knock off the now 20-3 Pacers? The city of Charlotte should be proud of their hometown team.
In a hard fought game, we once again saw the extremely underrated Bobcats’ defense hold a team to under 30, but this wasn’t just any team. This was the best the NBA had to offer in the Pacers, and though a win didn’t come, it is still very motivating to have played so well against a top defensive (Pacers are the No. 1 defensive team in the league) and offensive team (Pacers are also the 9th best offensive team in the league).
Charlotte also kept one man out of the equation tonight with their solid on ball defense. This wasn’t just any average scrub player, this was Paul George. George was held to just 10 points (averaging 24.7 a game) on 2-12 shooting after struggling to find his groove throughout the entirety of the game. The face of the Indiana franchise also collected five assists and five boards on the night.
Roy Hibbert did his usual thing and put up yet another double-double, which included 18 points (not his best shooting night with 6-14 from the field) and 11 rebounds. It was great to watch two stars like Al Jefferson and Hibbert go up against each other in the post. Hibbert may have won the rebounding battle, but Jefferson was the more productive scorer.
After a quiet night for Kemba Walker (10 points and fur assists), Jefferson was the spark for the Cats tonight as he shined, battling in the paint adding 21 points and nine rebounds. Though Charlotte didn’t have to worry about George all that often in this one, somebody else stepped up for the Pacers big time. Lance Stephenson looked like an All-Star out on the floor in this matchup, as he had the near triple double.
Stephenson provided the fight and spark for this surging Pacers squad, as he went for 20 points, one rebounds, and seven assists. With George struggling to be his normal, charismatic, clutch self, Stephenson stepped up and proved that he can be a huge difference maker for this title contending team.
As the Cats once again come up short in a huge game on the road, we realize that the fourth quarter is maybe starting to be a problem. We notice that just about a week ago, the Cats fell to the Miami Heat (second in the East) by just one point! It was a sad loss in the end, but one they shouldn’t be too discouraged about. It’s all about moving on and focus shifted to the next game for Charlotte.
The Pacers are know on an 11 game win streak at home this season (11-0 so far in Bankers Life Fieldhouse), as they extend their lead of the best record in the entire NBA.
The Bobcats’ next game is Saturday night at 7 P.M. Eastern time as they travel back to Time Warner Cable arena and go up against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.