Score: 101-89 Bobcats
Bobcats Record: 21-31
Meritorious Player: D.J. Augustin gets the nod, though there were a few worthy candidates. The efficient scoring won me over, as D.J. scored 24 points on 12 attempts, and added 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal, while not committing a turnover…
Which is more than a couple of his teammates could say – looking at you, Raymond and Boris. Not that they did not have border-line spectacular lines themselves…if you take out their turnovers and inefficient scoring. How often do you see a line like either of these though:
Raymond Felton – 15 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 block.
Boris Diaw – 14 points, 7 assists, 7 blocks, 5 rebounds, 2 steals.
Their nights had me thinking about AK47's 5x5s of a few seasons ago. Had it not been for their scoring (about 1 point per attempt for both) and turnovers (4 for Raymond and 7 for Boris – who I guess was taking the lucky number 7 too far?), either of these efforts would have been easily worthy of MP honors. As it is, they had solid contributions in a Bobcats victory. I will take that (and I am sure they will too).
After making up plays in the last game for Vlad, since he had not had a chance to practice with the team yet, the Bobcats apparently used yesterday to get him up to speed…and into the starting lineup. 21 points on 14 attempts (5 of 10 from distance) and Vlad is attempting to replace Jason Richardson's prolific deep jumpers after just 2 games in Charlotte. He is of course not going to shoot that well every night, so it was encouraging to see a somewhat rounded performance, with 2 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block, though a bit more board work would be nice. Between he and Boris, Emeka is going to grab 30 in a game sometime – out of necessity.
I have touched on all the starters…and I will give the bench as much as they gave the team tonight: Very little. 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists in a combined 49ish minutes from Sean, Cartier, Gana, Sean, and Alexis. Cartier did most of the damage, 9 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist, but he also got about half of those minutes. Larry Brown's reticence to use the bench left Raymond and Boris on the court for over 43 minutes apiece, and D.J. was not far behind at 38 minutes, despite the team wanting to ease him back into things. I know that injuries are a big part of the current depth problem – but I imagine that the ones who are left are ready for the break the All-Star weekend represents. When that break is over, this team is showing that it may have enough fight in it to make the race for 8th interesting *(contingent on Gerald and Raja returning after All-Star weekend, as expected).
Final note: I should start pending some kind of asterisked note to any predictions I make – dealing with Crash kind of makes it a given I guess.