Kemba Walker scored a career-high 30 points and Gerald Henderson added 18 as the Bobcats opened the 2012-13 season with a 90-89 win over Indiana in front of a sellout crowd at Time Warner Cable Arena®.
After battling back from a nine-point deficit in the second quarter to tie it at 37-37, the Bobcats still faced a 43-39 deficit at halftime. That’s when Kemba Walker took over the game. Walker scored 12 points in the first six minutes of the second half as the Cats rattled off a 21-10 run and took a 60-53 lead midway through the third… The Bobcats did not score in the final 3:28 of the contest after Tyrus Thomas’ 18-foot jumper gave them a 90-85 lead. Still, they managed to take the opening night victory– how? Charlotte forced two turnovers and Gerald Henderson drew a decisive charge on Paul George in the final two minutes after David West’s layup cut it to 90-89. Former Bobcat D.J. Augustin had a chance to win it for the Pacers, but his 3-pointer from the right baseline wasn’t true and the Cats took the win.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Bobcats Head Coach Mike Dunlap stresses the importance of taking care of the ball and his team is getting the message. Charlotte turned it over just 11 times in the contest, compared to 19 for Indiana… Kemba Walker (24 points) and Gerald Henderson (14 points) absolutely owned the second and third quarters for the Bobcats, combining for 38 of their 57 points as they outscored the Pacers, 57-50… Veteran Ramon Sessions was key for Charlotte in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of his 11 points in the final frame
BOBCATS PLAYER OF THE GAME
This game was all about Kemba Walker, as he took that next step towards becoming a dominant player for the Bobcats. Walker finished with a career-high 30 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 shooting from the charity stripe. He added five rebounds and three assists while only turning the ball over once.
BOBCATS TOP RESERVE
Ramon Sessions helped carry the Bobcats in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of his bench-leading 11 points. He entered the final stanza with four points on 1-of-4 shooting from the field and two free throws, but connected on 2-of-4 shots in the fourth, including one 3-pointer and hit both free throws he attempted.
PACERS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Paul George played a solid all-around game for Indiana, finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and one steal.
INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM
"I just thought whatever he was last year – and I looked at a lot of film – that there was more to come of what I was used to when I was in the Big East and had to coach against him. I knew that better days were ahead. We just opened the game up for him a little bit, gave him some pick and rolls and trusted him, and I think that tonight it came out. We want more of that style of play."
- Mike Dunlap on Kemba Walker
"I felt really good and really comfortable. It’s all because of my teammates and my coaching staff, they kept me confident. My bigs set some great screens for me. Gerald (Henderson), Ben (Gordon) and guys on the wings were moving. All the credit goes to the other guys. I feel like if my coach believes in me I can go out there and be as confident as I can be. It’s all about trust and all about confidence. When I’m confident, my teammates are confident and we just make things happen. Having trust in me is definitely a huge deal."
- Kemba Walker on his confidence and the trust the team has in each other
Starters Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (two points), Byron Mullens (six points) and Brendan Haywood (four points) did not have great games offensively, combining to shoot 21.7 percent (5 of 23) from the field, but it did not mean they were ineffective… Haywood brought down nine rebounds, including three offensive boards and dished out two assists… Mullens and Kidd-Gilchrist each hauled down seven rebounds and blocked two shots, as well… Gana Diop was the only inactive player for the Cats.
Charlotte now heads to Dallas for an 8:30 p.m. Saturday tip at American Airlines Center. Watch us on SportSouth or listen to the game on WFNZ while joining us for the live chat on bobcats.com.