The Charlotte Bobcats have another chance to start a winning streak. It took overtime to get their ninth win of the year over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night, but Kemba Walker and co. got it done and now sit at 9-24 as they prepare for a home date with the Utah Jazz.
While it was just Charlotte’s second win in their last 21 games following a terrible 18-game losing streak, it’s a stepping stone away from a horrible December. In fact, the Bobcats are now at .500 in the new year (1-1), while January offers them a brand new platform to try to get back to a competitive state.
They’ll need more nights like this. The scoring was there for the second straight game, as Kemba Walker paced Charlotte with 20 points and seven dimes, while Ben Gordon was hot off the bench with 18 points of his own.
Charlotte overcame a solid night from Detroit big man Greg Monroe, who had little difficulty doing as he pleased for much of the game, on his way to 18 points, 14 boards and six assists. Considering how close the game was and the fact that Monroe was never in foul trouble, it’s a wonder why the Pistons didn’t go to him more (just 10 shot attempts).
Regardless, itr was execution and defense in the extra period that set Charlotte apart from the Pistons, as they out-scored Detroit 12-5 in overtime.
Charlotte got a huge boost from big man Tyrus Thomas in the win, as Thomas started and played an insane 38 minutes in just his second game back from an injury that has kept him sidelined since mid-November. Thomas struggled shooting from the floor, but managed to chip in 13 points, while adding five rebounds, a block and a steal.
While Thomas will undoubtedly be a hot name involved in trade rumors over the next month, his energy and defensive skill-set was sorely missed over the past month and a half, and there’s little doubt his presence was felt on Sunday night.
Ramon Sessions also helped pitch in for what was a very solid bench effort, as he ended the night with 15 points. Big man Bismack Biyombo had a noteworthy performance, as well, as he started and recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down 17 rebounds.
Ultimately, this game was mostly about star point guard Kemba Walker, who forced overtime with a layup with 7.8 seconds left, with the scored tied 96-all. From that point on, Walker and Thomas worked together to put the Pistons together.
Again, it’s just the second win in over 20 games, but the Bobcats are showing fight and getting Thomas back provides a boost of energy and allows Charlotte to compete against the opposition more effectively in the paint. Once they get Byron Mullens and Hakim Warrick both healthy again, they’ll be deeper and healthier in the paint than they’ve been all year.
The Bobcats probably aren’t going to crawl out of this hole and back to the playoffs, and trade rumors are likely to start swirling, but Bobcats fans will take progress where they see it. And right now, Charlotte is 1-1 in January and doing their best to forget what a losing streak in 2012 was like.