Al Jefferson continued to show that he’s the heart of the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night in a 105-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Showing that he’s one of the best centers in the NBA right now, Jefferson dominated the Nuggets while putting up 26 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block on the night while shooting a reliable 12-23 from the floor.
Kemba Walker also proved why he’s a key cog in the Bobcats’ system as he put up 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds against Denver, getting to the foul line a monstrous 12 times on the evening. While Walker and Jefferson are the stars, it was Gary Neal that proved he might be the most important piece of Charlotte’s system in terms of their success.
Against the Nuggets, Neal played 31 minutes off of the bench and came up big. The explosive offensive guard finished the evening with 19 points, four assists, four rebounds and one steal while shooting 7-9 from the floor and 3-3 from long-range.
In the six games Neal has played with Charlotte after coming over in a deal at the Trade Deadline, he’s been up and down. Overall, he’s averaging 10.7 points, 1.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game while shooting just 37.9 percent from the floor but shooting 38.1 percent from three.
While he hasn’t been reliable in his limited time with the Bobcats, Neal’s ability to provide offensive flurries is going to be the biggest key for Charlotte making it to the postseason and possibly having any success in the playoffs. This is a team that has built an identity on their defense, but has often found offense hard to come by. Going forward, though, they have a weapon in Neal who can remedy that issue at times.
It’d be nice to see Neal settle into some type of consistent production over the last month of the season, but what he’s providing still gives this team a boost. Down the stretch of the regular season and heading into the playoffs, Neal will be the guy that could spark a bit of a run for this Bobcats team.