By Tank Spencer

Tuesday night was my first NBA (sort-of) experience in a long time... Grade? A-

Let's face it, the minus is just purely for the fact that it was a preseason game and the competition wasn't top-notch with players sitting out and limiting minutes. The US Cellular Center (Civic Center) has always - in my view - been a good venue for basketball. It's bigger than say, the Justice Center (UNC Asheville's former arena), but it is nowhere near a venue like Philips Arena in Atlanta. With the upgrades to the arena, concessions, etc., it is even better.

The Charlotte Bobcats may not be a winning team (yet), but the "spirit team" was impressive. Even though it was not a sellout crowd Tuesday, the crowd was pumped and very receptive to the attempts of the live D.J., Rufus (the mascot) and the squad of tantilizing cheerleaders to get them off their feet. The Bobcats definitely succeeded in bringing the NBA atmosphere to "little ol' Asheville."

The basketball action wasn't bad either. The Bobcats are slowly, but surely getting better by the year. Yes, they lost Tuesday, but the starters were limited with this being the first preseason game. This team should have its windows of success with young guys like point guard Kemba Walker, shooting guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and center Bismack Biyombo getting more experienced and better. Also the additions of center Al Jefferson and sky-is-the-limit rookie big man Cody Zeller will add star power Even former Dookies Gerald Henderson and Josh McRoberts are adding fire to this dying brushfire of a team.

The rising of the Bobcats also leads to the best possible outcome for Charlotte basketball fans... the revival of the CHARLOTTE HORNETS!!!

More on my Hornets love affair to come.

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures I snapped on the iPhone Tuesday night.

Click below to view the gallery!