By Scott Lauer
November 1, 2013
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.
Year 10 in our Bobcats history has officially begun, and I am really excited about how this newly constructed team develops. Last night the team dropped its opener in Houston, to one of the elite teams in the league, but they showed road resolve which was present in their pre-season schedule. After catapulting to a 6-0 lead last night, the Bobcats eventually fell behind by 10 in the firstt half, but they responded favorably. With the Toyota Center crowd immersed in Dwight Howard’s debut, Charlotte could’ve faded, but that was not case. They worked themselves back into the game and made the Rockets sweat until the very late stages. Earning road wins has been a difficult proposition the last couple of years, but this team has the makings to alter that path. After all, they displayed that attitude in the exhibition season, erasing a 21-point deficit in Milwaukee, and a 19-point spread in New York, to beat the Bucks and Knicks respectively.
Here are some other takeaways from the opener…
* Al Jefferson is healthy, which is paramount for the success of this team. He sprained his right ankle in Kansas City in the second preseason game vs. Miami. He alluded to the fact that his ankle has been fine but it’s the wind that he needs to restore (getting back into playing shape). Coach Clifford integrated Jefferson back into the lineup with 30 minutes of time. His touch was off (6-for-19 shooting), but he moved cleanly, and that’s the important note.
* Josh McRoberts is becoming a known commodity. I always felt that he was arguably the most underrated talent in the league before he joined us. A former Bobcats assistant coach shared that sentiment when we were casually talking about players in the league at the time. At 6-10 he can handle and pass the ball in ways that former Bobcat Boris Diaw used to, and he hit three 3-pointers in Houston too. He finished with 15 points, four boards, three assists, one block, and one steal. The front office deserves everlasting credit for stealing him from Orlando for Hakim Warrick a year ago.
* With Jeff Taylor having excellent bursts in summer league play, FIBA and the preseason, he wound up playing 28 minutes off the bench and was used instead of Ben Gordon against the Rockets.
* Cody Zeller made his NBA debut, and tallied two points, four rebounds, and one block in 16 minutes. I understand that the +/- stat is debatable (it indicates if the team outscored the opposition or not during the minutes that each player was on the court), but that said, Zeller was the only Bobcat with a positive figure (+3).
I’m excited about the team’s home opener on Nov. 1 against the Cavs and Kyrie Irving!