New Bobcats Debut in Preseason Loss to Hawks
By David Walters
December 22, 2011
Many Bobcats who figure to play significant roles in the rotation saw their first game action of the preseason in Atlanta on December 22, but their additions weren't enough as Charlotte dropped its preseason finale to the Hawks, 92-72, splitting the home-and-home preseason series.
Corey Maggette made his debut in a Bobcats uniform and provided a much-needed veteran presence, scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points in the first quarter and drawing two back-to-back charges on the defensive end in the third quarter.
"He didn't surprise me, that's the way he plays," said Head Coach Paul Silas. "If he brings it like that every night, then we'll have a chance to be competitive."
The seventh overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Bismack Biyombo, made his first appearance for the Bobcats and had two athletic blocks to go with one point and two rebounds. Fellow rookie Kemba Walker scored eight points to go with four rebounds and two assists.
"I felt good, it's a learning process," said Walker. "All I can do is take this game and get better. The adjustment between playing in college and the pros is that the guys are quicker and more athletic."
Byron Mullens also saw his first action since being acquired from Oklahoma City and scored seven points, while Melvin Ely checked into the game in the fourth quarter and showed off his signature hook shot. D.J. Augustin and Matt Carroll scored nine points apiece.
"I like the fact that Maggette is assuming the leadership role and is going to put us on his back, especially on the offensive end," said Silas. "We are not very tall so we are going to struggle offensively especially with Tyrus Thomas being out, and with us having to rely on Boris Diaw and DJ White at the center position."
The Bobcats trailed 49-46 at halftime but had a rough stretch in the third quarter, shooting 3 of 15 and going over eight minutes without a field goal as they were outscored 22-12 in the frame.
"We executed well tonight and that's about it," said Silas. "We didn't rebound well, we didn't defend well and the basic thing, we didn't bring any energy tonight. When we're not playing with energy we're not going to play very well, and that's just what happened."
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 21 points and six rebounds and Ivan Johnson chipped in 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Games Notes: Tyrus Thomas sat out the game with a mild left ankle sprain; D.J. White got the start in his place and had five points and two rebounds. Reggie Williams and Eddie Najera were also listed on the injury report as they recover from their respective knee surgeries. The Bobcats were out-rebounded, 29-47.
The Bobcats will open the regular season with three straight home games beginning with the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday at 7:00 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena. Catch all the action on SportSouth, listen to us on WFNZ or join the live chat on bobcats.com.