Score: 102-97 Hawks
Bobcats Record: 19-30
Meritorious Player: Emeka Okafor. 15 points on 11 attempts. 6 offensive rebounds, 13 defensive – 19 total. 2 assists, 1 block. The Bobcats were +3 with Okafor on the court, net efficiency of +2.6.
A tale of two halves: The Bobcats led at the break 55-43 (despite buzzer beating 3s by the Hawks after the first and second quarters). The Hawks won the second half 59-42. In the fourth quarter, the Bobcats were called for 7 fouls, Atlanta 3, but 2 of those were offensive. This led to the Hawks taking 11 free throws in the final period, to 2 for the Bobcats. Not that I am blaming this on the refs. In fact, a certain song is playing in my head…by The Hives…Hate to say I told you so…
But I mentioned in Without you (Gerald Wallace) that I was leery of Boris trying to guard Marvin Williams. And I was right: Despite shooting just 33% from the floor (5-15), Marvin scored 29 points on those 15 attempts, thanks to 18 of 20 shooting at the stripe. Boris could not stay in front of him one on one and Marvin exploited that to constantly get to the free throw line in the 4th. To say it was frustrating is an understatement.
I am not going to just dump on Boris though – he had a decent game when he was locked in. It seemed that he had something to prove when matched up with Josh Smith in particular, repeatedly posting up and driving to the basket to score on Atlanta's slightly taller, slightly bigger, lefty version of Crash. Boris finished with 16 points on 8 attempts, with 4 assists, but just 3 rebounds – after Emeka's 19, Raymond had the next most for Charlotte with 8.
Good news: D.J. was back – and apparently pleased to be:
A couple of more shots from the game before the bad news:
Nice looking jumper for Emeka. And then Raymond with the drive and kick:
The bad news: Raja Bell was burying shots from all over, with 17 points on 11 attempts in just under 30 minutes of action – plus 6 rebounds and 4 assists. What is bad about that? Well, the number of minutes – Raja had to leave the game with a strained groin. Bell will be out at least 2 games, maybe returning after the All-Star break. One guy gets back…another steps out.
Final note: Check out a clip from last night's half time show – the costumes reminded me of TRON. Considering the Queen and I had just eaten dinner at RiRa's (the Irish Pub) just before the game made it a funny coincidence (the halftime entertainment was from some Irish Dance school – at the Portland game earlier this year, it was Jazzercise – so, I guess the Bobcats are taking advertising money and letting people use halftime as an extended commercial?).