1. The Sixers lost to the Bobcats 111-105. Al Jefferson ran the left block to perfection, as always, finishing with an efficient 29 points (on 19 shots, with just five free throw attempts) and 12 rebounds.
2. For the Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams was the obvious story, finishing with 23 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. He took care of the ball too, netting only 3 turnovers, 2 of them late while trying to make magic happen down the stretch. He controlled the offensive game for the Sixers all night, and if it weren't for some shoddy shooting, the Sixers probably would have won.
3. MCW has also stopped shooting threes. He hasn't attempted one over the past five games. A 25.6% shooter on the season, well, that might be a good idea for now. If he can shoot at a league-average rate or better going forward, which would be a major major jump considering his current percentages, he's a future all-star.
Carter-Williams did take, and make, a few midrange jumpers. I mentioned that the Bobcats would probably give him these in the preview, and that he should fight for better attempts. For the most part, he did: driving the lane in traffic (en route to a 10 free throw attempt night). But he also settled from a region the defense prefers that he shoots from. In time, I obviously prefer that he steps behind the three point line. Now, however, if MCW struggles enough with his longer shots that it affects his confidence, since wins going forward are basically meaningless for draft purposes I would be perfectly fine if he takes some steps in. Hopefully, that doesn't become a habit.
4. The Sixers could really use a wing player for next year that can both shoot and drive with the ball. The current wings are painfully limited; either they can't shoot (Tony Wroten, Elliot Williams) or can't do anything else (James Anderson, Hollis Thompson).
5. The Bobcats offense, meanwhile, took on the look of Al Jefferson's old Utah offense, which aesthetically is a nice change of pace from the drive-and-kick look almost the entire rest of the league runs into the ground. The old school look isn't always pretty when giant behemoths are shoving back-and-forth. But Al Jefferson has both power and technique, and he makes it look easy. Henry Sims looked helpless trying to defend him for the second consecutive game.
Sims only played 27 minutes largely because of this. Jarvis Varnado may have been injured, so Byron Mullens got backup duty. He defended Jefferson much better than Sims, and he started off well offensively. Then he launched some ill-advised threes and became the Mullens we thought we were getting at the trade deadline.
Check out Rufus on Fire for more from the Bobcats end and their playoff push.