The Charlotte Bobcats are happy to be home after a five game west coast road trip, and they showed it with a 96-80 win over the Chicago Bulls tuesday night.
They came out with an all around team effort where most players shot well and all starters went in double figures. Raymond Felton and Raja Bell led the way with 18 points a piece, and Felton also added 9 assists. Bell only played 28 minutes all night but they were solid as he shot 7-11, despite being listed as questionable prior to the game with a right shoulder strain he suffered against the Clippers.
Bell was humble about his contributions stating that he was shooting wide-open shots.
“When you still have something to play for and you’re playing a team that is vying and jockeying position with you, you want to get out there and help.”
The Bobcats overall shot particularly well at 48.7%, and an uncharacteristic 90% at the free throw line.
The Bulls on the other hand shot 39%, and 20% from the three point line. They also had 17 turnovers , including 5 from star Ben Gordon which proved to hurt them all night.
Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro expressed his disatisfaction after the game.
“They outworked us. We tried to get after it in the third quarter but their toughness mixed with no urgency to our game is why we lost.”
The Bulls, playing without starter Luol Deng and veteran Tim Thomas are now just one game ahead of the Bobcats who are starting to play better and are in the midst of a four game winning streak, their largest of the season.
Charlotte Bobcats reserve big man DeSagna Diop came in and provided quality minutes off the bench scoring six points, while grabbing five rebounds, two steals, and one block. It’s efforts like his and the “execution on both ends” that coach Brown talked about at the end of the game.
Only three games seperate seeds eight-thirteen in the eastern conference playoff race.
The Bobcats who are still banged up, are getting healthier at the right time as other teams in the race like the Milwaukee Bucks have seen leading scorer Michael Redd go down for the season. This is something Larry Brown sees as an advantage to them as the playoffs arise.
“A lot of teams at this time with the position we are in might not have everybody stepping up.”
Charlotte definitely chose to step up at the right time, their starting to mold as a team, and the they look to make a serious push for what would be their first ever playoff berth as a franchise.