Ramon Sessions scored a team-high 17 points to help lead the Cats back from a 13-point second-half deficit in their opening game of the preseason, but Jannero Pargo’s potential game-winning 3-pointer was too strong as time expired and Charlotte fell, 87-85, to the Atlanta Hawks on October 8 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, NC.
The easiest turning point came in the game’s final 2.2 seconds, as Jannero Pargo was able to catch the inbounds pass, get his defender off his feet with a pump fake and square up for a good look from the top of the arc as time expired. The game essentially hinged on that shot, but it wasn’t just decided there… Trailing 70-57 midway through the third quarter, Charlotte closed the frame on a 9-2 run, sparked by four points from Jeffery Taylor, and trailed just 72-66 heading to the fourth. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Anthony Tolliver and Josh McRoberts pushed the run to 15-2 and knotted the score, 72-72, with 10 minutes remaining. The fans in Asheville saw three ties and four lead changes in those final 10 minutes before Pargo’s shot was off the mark.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
After seeing the Hawks explode for 33 points on 57.1 percent shooting (12-for-21) in the first quarter, the Cats buckled down defensively, holding Atlanta to 54 points and 35.8 percent shooting (19-for-53) the rest of the way… The Cats started off cold behind the arc, going 1-for-6 from long range in the first three quarters. Charlotte heated up in the fourth though and finished 4-for-9 in the stanza behind two treys from Jannero Pargo and one apiece from Josh McRoberts and Anthony Tolliver…. How did Charlotte get back into this one after giving up 33 points in the first quarter, by getting back on the break and limiting the Hawks opportunity for transition buckets and by getting the offense going off the break as well. The Cats held Atlanta to nine fast-break points while converting 23 points of their own on the break.
BOBCATS PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Ramon Sessions didn’t appear to miss a beat after missing time toward the end of last season with a sprained knee. Sessions was the Cats catalyst off the bench, finishing with a team-high 17 points, including nine at the charity stripe, and adding a team-high six assists.
Cody Zeller impressed in his first-ever NBA game, scoring nine points to go with five rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist. He also connected on 57.1 percent of his shots from the field.
HAWKS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Atlanta rookie Dennis Schroeder might not have had the best shooting night (4-for-15) but he was clutch when it counted, hitting the game-winning floater from the right side with 2.2 seconds remaining. He finished with nine points and a game-high seven assists.
Ramon Sessions (17 points) and Kemba Walker (12) were the only two Cats to finish scoring in double digits, but all 12 Charlotte players who saw time scored at least two points. Gerald Henderson, Cody Zeller and Jeffery Taylor all flirted with double-digits, finishing with nine points… Al Jefferson scored seven points to go with a team-high nine rebounds and two blocked shots in his Bobcats debut… Newcomer Antony Tolliver was impressive on the glass as well, hauling down eight rebounds.
The Bobcats now travel to Kansas City, Missouri to take on the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat at 8:30 p.m. on October 11. Listen to the game on WFNZ.