Taylor fills in with 20 as Bobcats beat 76ers

John Delong, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jeffery Taylor will be in the Charlotte Bobcats' starting lineup for the next month or so while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist recovers from a fractured hand.
If Taylor's performance in the Bobcats' 105-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night was any indication, the second-year forward will adapt to his new role just fine.
Taylor matched his career high with 20 points to lead six Bobcats in double figures, on what turned out to be the biggest offensive output for the team all season.
Taylor had nine points in a 36-point first-quarter explosion, which allowed the Bobcats to take control early and cruise with double-figure leads much of the game.
"He took full advantage of starting and playing more minutes," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said of Taylor. "I thought he played really well offensively, he rebounded well, and he did a good job defensively. If he can continue to play like he did tonight, we'll be happy."
Kidd-Gilchrist suffered his injury in the Bobcats' loss at Dallas on Tuesday.
Taylor, a second-round pick from Vanderbilt last year, came into the game averaging 7.9 points and 2.2 rebounds. He was 8 of 16 from the field, hit two 3-pointers and also matched a career high with eight rebounds.
"I was just trying to take the opportunities when they came to me," Taylor said. "A lot of the same shots I made tonight haven't been falling for me lately. I just tried to be aggressive and take what the defense gave to me. I got off to a good start and it carried with me the rest of the night."
The Bobcats also got 18 points from guard Gerald Henderson, 18 points and 10 assists from guard Kemba Walker, 14 points and 12 rebounds from center Al Jefferson, 13 points from guard Ramon Sessions, and 10 points from forward Cody Zeller.
The 105 points represented the Bobcats' biggest offensive output of the season, and was just the second time all season they have scored more than 100. They shot 54.3 percent from the field in the first half in racing to a 62-51 halftime lead, and finished at 46.2 percent with just nine turnovers.
"We were playing really well on offense," Taylor said. "We were getting easy buckets, layups, dunks, open shots, so we definitely felt good on offense throughout the whole night. It was a fun game to play tonight."
The win snapped a two-game losing streak and moved the Bobcats to 9-11.
The Sixers were without guard Michael Carter-Williams, who injured his right knee earlier in the week and did not make the trip.
Tony Wroten, Carter-Williams' replacement, led the Sixers with 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. The Sixers also got 16 points from forward Evan Turner, 12 points from guard Hollis Thompson, and 10 points and 13 rebounds from center Spencer Hawes.
Sixers coach Brett Brown bemoaned his team's defense in the first half. Charlotte finished with 22 fastbreak points, 58 points in the paint.
"When people score 60-something points in the first half, it's a concern," Brown said. "We know our sickness. We know what our weakness is. Some of it is the way that we play, some of it is individual attention to defense and me putting them in better places. It's a concern no matter who we play when they roll out those types of numbers in the first half."
"We've got to start off the game defensively," Wroten said. "We played good defense in the second half, so we've just got to play defense for the whole 48 minutes. We can't let a team get 36, 40 points in the first quarter. It's going to be hard to win games like that."
The Sixers are now 7-13 and have lost nine of their last 11. They are 1-8 on the road.
NOTES: Bobcats C Bismack Biyombo suffered a sprained right ankle in the second quarter and did not return. ... Bobcats C Al Jefferson had his fourth straight double-double. ... The Sixers' lone road win this season came at Washington on Nov. 1. The Sixers lost 15 straight road games during one stretch last season. ... The Bobcats expect to be without F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist somewhere between four and six weeks with a fractured left hand. They have also been without C Brendan Haywood all season as he recovers from a stress fracture in his left foot. ... The Sixers are now 1-4 without G Michael Carter-Williams. He missed four games earlier this season with a left foot arch bruise and the Sixers were 1-3 in those games. ... The Sixers have not had C Nerlens Noel and F Arnett Moultrie at all this season, both because of left ankle injuries. ... This is the first of four meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals this season. They will meet again in Philadelphia on Jan. 15, and then twice more in April. ... The Bobcats will remain home and face Golden State on Monday. ... The Sixers will return home to face Denver on Saturday.

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