The Charlotte Bobcats had won their first three games out of the NBA All-Star break, a streak spear-headed by fantastic play from center Al Jefferson. Jefferson averaged 31.3 points and 10 rebounds per game over those three victories, while also shooting over 50 percent from the floor over that span. His play helped get the Bobcats rolling out of the break.
However, Jefferson was far from that effective scorer on Saturday night against the stout defensive front-line of the Memphis Grizzlies. Jefferson put up a meager six points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes while being limited to just 2-13 shooting from the floor. However, it ultimately didn’t hinder the Bobcats’ quest for a fourth consecutive win.
Kemba Walker delivered for Charlotte with a masterful performance as he put up 31 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 42 minutes while shooting 9-20 from the field and 3-7 from beyond-the-arc. Walker’s effort helped earn the Bobcats a hard-fought 92-89 win over the Grizzlies and to move to 27-30 on the season.
As you could have figured coming into the matchup, the contest turned out to be a defensive struggle. The Grizzlies limited Charlotte to just 36.6 percent shooting from the floor on the night. However, Charlotte was able to combat that by forcing 15 turnovers from Memphis which resulted in 20 points for the Bobcats.
Not only is it big for the Bobcats to earn their fourth-straight win and potentially move into the six-seed in the East, but it’s even bigger for them to earn a tough win when Jefferson isn’t at his best. That shows real progression for a team trying to show that their win-now mentality this season is justifiable. Throw in the fact that they have an offensive boost coming when Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour join the team and the near-future looks bright for the Bobcats.