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Sports

Bobcats Taylor Hopes Starting Ends Shooting Slump

STEVE REED, AP Sports Writer
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(Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bobcats small forward Jeffery Taylor is hoping a spot in Charlotte’s starting lineup will help shake his recent shooting slump.

Taylor takes over Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers after the team’s regular starter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his left hand in Tuesday night’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Taylor, the team’s second-round pick in 2012, has scored just 15 points in his last four games on 7 of 21 shooting. He averaged 10 points per game in his first 15 games.

Taylor played a season-low three minutes in Charlotte’s loss to the Mavericks.

“I’ve struggled a little bit,” Taylor said. “I had a stretch where I was playing well and now I haven’t played so well. I just need to stay at it and hopefully things will turn around.”

Taylor has started 30 games during his career, 29 of those coming last season.

Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said Taylor will start, but Gerald Henderson and Anthony Tolliver will also see time at the three spot.

But he’s hoping Taylor steps up to the challenge.

“I don’t think he has to change anything about his approach,” Clifford said. “That is what I talked to him about (Thursday) morning. He has to play the best that he can play. He can’t worry about anything else.

“His key to playing well is his concentration. When he’s concentrated and focused he’s a very good player at both ends of the floor. When he’s not as locked in as he needs to be then he’s not as good. … This is a great opportunity for him.”

Taylor has shown flashes, averaging 20.3 points for the Bobcats in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

He played for his native Sweden in the FIBA Eurobasket Tournament in September and led everyone in scoring, averaging 21.2 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 42.3 percent from behind the 3-point line.

“I’ve struggled a little bit from midrange,” Taylor said. “My percentages are a little bit lower than last year. (It’s about) staying with the things I did over the summer. Keep faith in the work I’ve put in and everything will turn around.”

Clifford said his main concern with losing Kidd-Gilchrist is replacing what he brings on defense.

The Bobcats (8-11) are allowing 91.7 points per game, second-fewest in the league.

“If you look at some of the games he’s already had this year from the way he defended LeBron twice, Paul George, Rudy Gay, with the game on the line, there is not many guys who can do what he can do physically as a competitor,” Clifford said of Kidd-Gilchrist. “Also he’s very bright. His technique is better and he’s getting to understand the league better.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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