Charlotte Bobcats come up short in exhibition

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.comOctober 8, 2013 

— Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder hit a driving layup with two seconds left for an 87-85 exhibition victory over the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday.

Jannero Pargo missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

With the game tied at 85-85, reserve point guard Pargo launched a three that feel off the rim. Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo committed a loose-ball foul trying to grab in teammate Pargo’s miss.

New coach Steve Clifford experimented with a big lineup down the stretch, with Josh McRoberts playing small forward alongside Anthony Tolliver and Biyombo. The extra size up-front allowed Clifford to pair point guards Ramon Sessions (17 points) and Pargo.

The Bobcats trailed 53-48 at halftime, giving up 46 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. Backup point guard Ramon Sessions played particularly well in the first half with 12 points off four shots from the field. Sessions got to the foul line six times in the half.

Much change as there’s been to the Bobcats, an old problem – shot-clock violations – returned quickly. They had a 24-second violation less than four minutes into the game and another in the second quarter.

Rookie forward Cody Zeller, a starter in his first NBA preseason game, had some good moments in the first half with seven points and four rebounds. But he also committed three turnovers and struggled at times to guard NBA power forwards outside he lane. Atlanta’s Paul Millsap and Eric Dawson both took Zeller off the dribble, and Zeller ended up fouling or giving up a layup.

Despite giving up that high shooting percentage on Atlanta 3s, the Bobcats did some good things defensively in the first half, totaling eight steals and four blocks. The starting backcourt of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson accounted for five of those eight steals.

The Bobcats return to Charlotte now, after eight days in Asheville. They head out Thursday on a 3-game preseason trip to Kansas City, Milwaukee and Canton, Ohio.

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