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December 07, 2013

105 points? That won't happen often for Bobcats this season

Some post-game thoughts on the Charlotte Bobcats’ 105-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers:

            -- The normal thing was the Bobcats holding an opponent under 90 points. The oddity was the Bobcats reaching 100 – just the second time it’s happened in this team’s first 20 games.

            This is how they must play to stay around .500: Get back in transition to limit the other team’s fast breaks. Limit opponents to one shot per possession. Try to outscore the other team by about as much at the foul line as the opponent outscores them at the 3-point line.

            It’s gotten them to 9-11 a quarter of the way through the season and they’ve seldom been absolutely blown out. This time last season, the Bobcats were in the midst of an 18-game losing streak.

            -- Several fans understandably asked me if I thought there was a connection between Jeff Taylor starting and Taylor breaking out of an eight-game slump. Maybe. But for what it’s worth, Taylor said there was no real difference between his 20-point game Friday and the previous few except he was making the same shot Friday he was missing before.

            Maybe it’s that simple. We’ll see over time now that he’ll be starting for a month or more.  But here’s the advice coach Steve Clifford gave Taylor looking forward:  Focus carefully on the nightly matchup, on the particulars of his job against each opponent. Jeff is a very bright guy and “focus” game-to-game is something he needs to establish consistently.

            -- Interesting little post-game discussion with Clifford about the tumble-down effect of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s broken hand. He said it’s inevitable the rotation will now change game-to-game, relative to the matchup at small forward. When the opposing team has smaller 3s, Gerald Henderson will move to forward and Ben Gordon will play. When the opponent has larger (and slower) 3s, Anthony Tolliver will play.

            Clifford said that when players don’t know when or if they’ll play on a given night, it generally degrades from their performance. Clifford said he’ll do his best, game-to-game, to let players know how large or small a role they’ll likely play, but this is all a guessing game in the end.

            -- Rookie Cody Zeller finally reached 10 points in an NBA game. Clifford was asked what he could do to help Zeller adapt to the pro game, and Clifford responded he might “narrow the scope” of what Zeller is asked to do offensively.

            Here’s Clifford’s point: He knows Zeller’s decision-making with the ball is one of his strengths. He also knows rookies can get overwhelmed by the adjustment. By asking him to make fewer independent decisions, he’s looking to simplify Zeller’s development until he’s ready for more responsiblity.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 7, 2013 at 12:05 AM | Permalink


Bravo for drafting Taylor in the second round. A shame he's better all around and more polished then MKG who went second in the first round.

MKG should have been traded this year while his value was still high. He will always be worthless on offense. One dimensional, raw players should not be drafted that high.

It's not ironic that without MKG and with Taylor starting they scored over 100 points.

Posted by: D.W.G. | Dec 7, 2013 2:13:45 AM

You clearly don't know what the word irony means. Nor do you understand the relationship (or lack thereof) between correlation and causality. You think scoring over 100 might have had something to do with Philly being one of the 5 worst defenses in the NBA? They scored 102 against the Knicks with MKG playing big minutes. 98 on the Heat. 96 against Milwaukee. 95 against Brooklyn. The real correlation is between points scored and bad defensive teams.

Posted by: drapht | Dec 7, 2013 2:31:42 AM

Henderson and Taylor starting has always been a better team fit at least offensively last yr . Look at the stats . And why not ? The spacing is better , ball and man movement and thus shooting . Henderson becomes more of a scorer and has more room to work for dribble drives . Taylor can do less when he starts by merely spotting up and getting out to finish in transition . Sure , the terrible team matters but the stats don't lie in this case in the past respecting other teams inc decent ones . Mkg has to take the hitch totally out his shot . He turns his hand inward and elbow outward before his slow delayed release . Kids do that trying to reach the basket at an early age . I love Mkg but if he can't score 14 to 18 in some games and on average in top games at least 13 points or on average , he's not helping this team . In fairness , both are splitting time which kills both of them although Taylor is not as good in tougher games . Henderson didnt get off last year until he got minutes over 30 and stopped splitting time with Taylor .

Posted by: Iron man | Dec 7, 2013 7:58:05 AM

Good to see them beat a team they should at home. Taylor had a nice game. Will be intersting to see him play over an extended period. Biz looked very good in his short stint. Clifford even credited him with being the catalyst that turned the game n the teams favor. Hopefully his injury is not serious. His play has been improving.

Posted by: Todd | Dec 7, 2013 8:37:32 AM

Biz was shooting 100% too bad he got injured, he was our best scoring option!

Posted by: MJ | Dec 7, 2013 9:39:50 AM

As I have been saying all year.....way to shine Jeff. Now play this well consistently and you should never play from the bench again.

Posted by: Go Cats! | Dec 7, 2013 10:36:49 AM

I still don't get all of the love for Taylor and hate for MKG. I love both of their games personally, but.....

mkg has more 20 point games more points per possession more points per minute played etc. Overall better offensive efficiency and he is three and a half years younger yet Taylor is somehow the better prospect?

baffling how some of you view the game.

I hope biz isnt out long. He's up to 67.5% from the field. Up from 40 something his first two years. Dude is finishing with way more consistency through the beginning of this year. Assuming the ankle is ok, they need to find a way to get him a touch or two more per game to further along that development.

Sessions has been horrible takitng care of the baIl lately. Im starting to think his low turnover numbers are strictly because of the volume of shots he takes and not at all indicative of his ability to take care of the ball. 3 On the box score but another that caused a jump ball and i counted 4 not including the jumpball. Stat keeper has been very friendly to that dude this year. It's been bad.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 7, 2013 11:14:12 AM

CLTN, how can you be so thick headed? MKG is great, but Taylor is the complete package. I like MKG, but he is limited, and will be his entire career. Taylor is skilled at everything, and makes a much better fit into the starting lineup. Give Taylor 20 games, his numbers will DWARF MKG's. All that said, I think they BOTH give more to the team than our Captain, Hendo.

Go Cats!!

Posted by: Go Cats! | Dec 7, 2013 11:32:23 AM

how is taylor the complete package compared to MKG? MKG's hole is 3 point shooting. taylor doesn't score in the post, rebound, dribble, pass, defend (physically), etc. everything taylor does outside of range, MKG does and in most cases does better.

MKG is shooting better from mid range and from the free throw line. that 25.9% 3 point shooting isn't exactly something to tout compared to MKG's refusal to take shots he can't make efficiently.

MKG jump shooting: 15 of 36 for .8333 PPS
Jeff Taylor: 18 of 61 for .7704 PPS

inside the paint? MKG - 37 for 59 for 1.254 PPS
Taylor - 34 of 63 for 1.079 PPS

free throws? taylors at 56.1% while mkg is 66.7%.

yeah....i'm that kind of thick headed. facts suck. give him 20 games? try give MKG the 4 year age difference and watch what the eff he's doing. I like both of them A LOT and every time i turn around the clown brigade is talking about how much better taylor is when there's no evidence to back it up.

Nastar is always on here harping about MKG's hollinger ratings (which are NOT clear indicators as much as hollinger thinks they are) and taylor's are significantly lower than MKG's.

Taylor has the potential to be bobby phills. MKG has the potential to be scottie pippen. that's just the truth of it. this is coming from a guy who was irate at clifford about taylor only playing 3 minutes the other night.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 7, 2013 12:42:57 PM

From Bill Simmons......"Before Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his hand last week, he was starting to look like Mutant Tony Allen — in other words, a super-athletic defensive stopper who cares only about shutting people down, except he's three inches taller than Tony. Check out MKG's recent battle with Paul George. Really impressive. I'm buying MKG stock"

Is it possible the Bobcats drafted 2 good players in MKG and Taylor? Neither are perfect, but looks like they had a good draft that year. What MKG is doing as a 20 year old is impressive. I don't know about shooting, but in another 2 years he will be first team all defense. That is a player worth having.

Posted by: Skip | Dec 7, 2013 1:11:36 PM

This was an exciting game to watch.

I think Jeff Taylor took his new starting role as a challenge, and he more than lived up to it.
Best player in the game, and he outplayed Evan Turner at both ends of the floor.

Second most exciting thing for me in this game was Cody Zeller's performance. Not a lot of minutes, but a lot of good things done.
Cody was depending too much on his jump shot, and seemed to lack confidence in both his ability to play in the paint and to live on jumpers (plus some occasional fastbreaks) only. He was good in defense and rebounding, but his offense was a dud (33% from the field before the last game).

Last night, he kept attacking in the paint, and it showed in his scoring.
As he will get stronger (and more experienced too) in the next few years, I'm sure Cody will prove picking him 4th overall was a great choice. Scoring more in the paint will increase his confidence, which will result in better jump shooting too.

Way to go, Jeff and Cody!

No doubt, Biyombo is an improved player this season. He's better at catching the ball and finishing at the rim, his positioning, both in offense and in defense, is improved, he's stronger in the interior defense, his rebounding (per minutes played) keeps getting better. And I didn't even mention yet his main talent - shot-blocking... It's unfortunate he got injured. He'll be back, and he'll keep getting better.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 7, 2013 1:17:17 PM

What's the point of all this pro-MKG vs. pro-Taylor arguing? Each one of them has his strengths, and it's good to have both of them in this team (as Skip also said).

They are both good defenders; MKG has an edge guarding forwards, because he's stronger.
But I go with Taylor when guarding SGs is needed. Taylor can play both wing positions. MKG is an SF who could occasionally help at PF too, like Gerald W. used to - except that this isn't needed anymore (with all the PFs we have).

Kidd Gilchrist may be more effective at scoring on the drive, but Taylor is also improving in this category.

There is no question as to who is the most talented shooter. Jeff's stats for this season only show that he played well below his potential - BEFORE last night. You know what his shooting talent is if you check on what he did in his last year in college.
He shot 3s at 42% (on 155 attempts in 36 games).
Same thing when playing for Sweden in the European championship: 42% for 3 point shooting.

Still, talking about MKG as if he's worthless as a shooter is totally wrong.
Evidently, he's a driver, not a pure shooter; he's not making a lot of jump shots. But, he's only 20 years old, and what he does now is good reason to expect improvement in the coming seasons.
From mid-range (15 to 19 feet from the basket) he made this season 11 out of 21 attempts (52%).

Harping on his shot form and that famous hitch is totally unnecessary. I went into more detail on this in another recent post (on 12/4), so I'm not gonna repeat now the points I made there. All he needs is continued practice, shooting HIS own way, and that will give good results.

Bobby Jackson, Raja Bell, Gerald Wallace, all started out as lousy long range shooters and got better with hard work in the gym.
As long as he can add some mid and long range jumpers - which he will increasingly do as he grows as a pro player - to his main strength (driving), MKG will be a valid offensive option for the team.

Having said this, clearly Taylor's shooting can help spacing the offense in a way that you can't expect from Kidd Gilchrist, IF and when Jeff will start bringing his stellar college and international shooting into the NBA.

One more point in this comparison: I expect Jeff to continue improving his rebounding, but still, Gilchrist is the superior rebounder - and this is one of the important areas of improvement for the Cats this season.

Briefly, both of them can help this team win, each one in his own way. Pitting one against the other is needless and senseless; fortunately, only fans do this kind of craziness, while the players feel and act like they are all in it together, working for the same goals (as Rick reported more than once, and as Jeff stated too).

- - -

Last night, our bench outscored the Sixers' bench 31-20. We won by 17: 6 points of the difference came from the starters, 11 from the bench. Best from our bench was Sessions. He had one of his good games, with 13 points and 4 assists in 23 minutes.
To be honest, I was worrying too about his TOs lately. But to point out a negative only, when he had a good game overall and contributed to the win, that's wrong and unfair.
Besides, his career average is 1.9 TOs per 25.4 mpg. So, you can easily expect him to correct this issue.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 7, 2013 2:32:47 PM

Well, Jeff Taylor and Gerald Henderson works, better than him and MKG and Henderson. Biz being out is a issue, Cody gonna need to play Center for now, Jeff Adrien and Anthony T,even Sutherland may get playing time now

Posted by: Rahshon Gamble | Dec 7, 2013 8:58:45 PM

The Bobcats are going to get a good look at Klay Thompson when he comes to Charlotte. We should gave #1pick 2017, and Brandon Haywood. Trading for Klay Thompson that's the move.

Posted by: Rahshon Gamble | Dec 7, 2013 9:08:52 PM

Do you think G.S. is planning to self-destruct?
Such a trade couldn't happen even if you managed to pour a quart of bourbon down Bob Myers' throat before negotiating.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 8, 2013 12:12:04 AM

You can debate all you want but you have to get a sf who's a complete package . Mkg can't shoot . His hitch precludes any consistency . Until he does , spacing will be a huge problem . He's my favorite player . Clifford doesn't run any low post curls , post ups or anything for Mkg except a mid range jumpshot he can't hit . Enough of this splitting time bc its unfair to him . Taylor is not that good whc is the reason he went in the 2 nd round . Make a trade for everyone's sake .

Posted by: Iron man | Dec 8, 2013 7:49:02 AM

Shooters almost always benefit from more scoring opportunities. The more they shoot, the better they get. Simple as that. Lots of scoring opportunities for Taylor without MKG will translate into a more effective Taylor. The trick will be finding him plenty of minutes and lots of opportunities to score when MKG returns.

The D'Antoni offense, for example, makes guys better (look at the improving offensive game of the Laker role players) because in speeding up the game everyone gets more shots per game and over the season that translates into a lot more reps in game situations. With reps comes growth.

Now some will say how the Bobcats need a different type of offense to be effective. They'll say:

"This is how they must play to stay around .500: Get back in transition to limit the other team’s fast breaks. Limit opponents to one shot per possession. Try to outscore the other team by about as much at the foul line as the opponent outscores them at the 3-point line."

While there are some good things there, the only problem is that this is how we must play to stay around .500. What if we want to do better? What if we want to grow? Our last game with one of our most lopsided wins of the season came from playing a different way. What about sticking to our defensive principles but pushing the pace and running in certain circumstances?

For example, agains elite teams with strong defense, we are simply not winning because we can't score in the half court set. Why not push the tempo in those games to give us a chance to score?

When Taylor, Henderson, & Zeller are all on the floor, why not allow Kemba and Sessions to push the pace and try to run some fast break? Zeller, Taylor, & Henderson all have shown themselves to be above average finishers in the league when defenses haven't had to time to set up and clog the paint. They are young and athletic. Why not give them opportunities to fly?

Not only will we win a few games we "shouldn't win" with this strategy, but by pushing the pace, there will be more scoring opportunities (and the associated growth) for everyone.

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 8, 2013 10:55:30 AM

i agree with sandy and skip.

and i'll add to the gerald wallace, raja bell, and bobby jackson list........jeff taylor himself.

he was a lousy 3 point shooter early in college (when he was MKG's age) and put up great numbers as a senior, respectable numbers last year, and surely will finish with respectable numbers this year.

I definitely wasn't trying to further the argument as MKG vs. Taylor.....because i'm a big fan of both. It's exhausting to see every time taylor does something positive that it becomes an anti MKG brigade. exhausting to hear about his shooting and MKG's ineptitude there while he continues to knock down that mid range jumper (15 of 31 on the season is above average).

ugly doesn't equate to bad. it just doesn't. rick barry was a great free throw shooter.

smarter sports fans recognize what mkg is and how incredible a talent he is.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 8, 2013 2:08:40 PM

Yeah, a #2 pick who can't shoot or crack the top-30 in the Hollinger Rankings.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Dec 9, 2013 11:53:52 AM

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