By Scott Lauer
April 24, 2014
Scott Lauer is the radio play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Bobcats. His column will appear on bobcats.com on Thursdays throughout the season. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bobcats organization.
The Bobcats will be playing at home at Time Warner Cable Arena in this playoff series against the Heat after two competitive games in Miami that both resulted in losses. Despite being down in the series, they’ve shown enough resolve that leads me to believe that they are in position for a home win.
In Game 1, they wiped away an 11-point deficit but were -15 in points off of turnovers, which proved to be costly. In Game 2, they were a shot away from clearing a 16-point deficit, but Chris Douglas-Roberts missed a potential tying three-pointer from the right wing late in the game, and then Dwyane Wade picked CDR on the right sideline with less than five seconds to go before he could possibly attempt another tying shot.
Considering that Al Jefferson has been hobbled by the left foot plantar fascia strain since the first quarter of game one, it’s quite commendable how he’s grinded through what is described as an extremely painful injury, to play heavy minutes. He’s proven in his first season with the team that he would justify having his face chiseled out of stone, and placed front and center on our franchise’s Mount Rushmore – a man that averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds per game. Now he’s displaying superior will and determination to play through a terrible foot injury as this franchise seeks its first playoff win. Jefferson missed a few shots near the rim in Game 2 that he would ordinarily make with full health and this team still had a fair shot to win. He was 9-of-23 shooting for 18 points, along with 13 rebounds. The team stayed in the game mainly because they hauled in 15 offensive rebounds, with five coming from Jefferson.
Then there’s the Game 2 story of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s success. MKG had a season-high 22 points along with 10 rebounds on Wednesday. He hit his first six shots and played his usual tough defense on LeBron James. Head Coach Steve Clifford said after the game that it was his best game of the year. Throw in his Game 1 effort of limiting James’ offensive involvement, and his seven rebounds in only 15 minutes (the team had a +8 margin with him in that game) and you can make a case that he’s had the most effective series of any player on the team.
One of the Heat’s plans when they oppose the Bobcats is to take the ball out of Kemba Walker’s hands with aggressive blitzing far away from the rim. They’ll send a second defender toward him, forcing him to give the ball up. That’s why it’s imperative to have others attack offensively, to compensate for how the Heat play him. MKG was that player in Game 2. All that said, Walker came to life late, as he has a knack for, and drained four three-pointers in all.
Here in uptown Charlotte, the Bobcats won 25 regular season games in front of the home crowd and finished exceptionally well here, going 14-2 in the last 16 home games of the regular season. They’ll try to beat the Heat for the first time since James joined the team and in the process earn the franchise’s first playoff win.
Lauer Blog Archive:
4/17/14: VIDEO: Coach Clifford
4/10/14: Clifford's Approach Leading the Way
4/3/14: Cats Peaking at Right Time
3/20/14: Cats in Good Shape
3/13/14: Cats Could Get to 6
3/6/14: VIDEO: Chris Douglas-Roberts
2/27/14: VIDEO: Gary Neal
2/20/14: Next 6 Key for Cats
2/6/14: VIDEO: Bob Beyer
1/30/14: Big Al Deserves to be an All-Star
1/9/14: VIDEO: Ramon Sessions
1/9/14: VIDEO: Catching Up with Al Jefferson
12/26/13: Cats Focused on What's Ahead
12/19/13: Great December for Cats
12/12/13: VIDEO: Catching Up with Stephen Silas
12/5/13: VIDEO: Catching Up with Southerland
11/21/13: VIDEO: Catching Up with Adrien
11/14/13: Jefferson Returning to Form
11/7/13: Unsung Heroes Helping Early Success
11/1/13: Ready for Home Opener
10/2/13: Bench Will Be a Difference Maker
10/1/13: Jefferson Will Make an Impact