Score: 98-91 Bobcats
Bobcats Record: 23-35
Meritorious Player: Emeka Okafor with 13 points on 11 attempts (only 3 of 7 from the free throw line), 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks. With Emeka on the court, the Bobcats had efficiencies of 112.0 and 97.2, offensively and defensively, leading to a +/- for Emeka of +14 – highest on the team.
The Bobcats won one they were supposed to – with their faint playoff hopes on the line, it does not get much more crucial than that. Granted, a couple of teams they hope to pass also won, but you can only worry about yourself, so good work taking care of business.
For the Cats, 5 players scored in double figures – though only 3 of them were starters. Gerald led the way with 27 (only 17 attempts, plus 6 of 6 free throw attempts), followed by Boris with 23 (13 attempts, 3 of 3 on fta), and then Emeka's previously mentioned 13, D.J. with 12 on 5 attempts (4 for 4 on 3s – nice), and Vlad chipped in 10 on 8. Nice to see Boris come out strong following up his revenge game in Phoenix – I'd be lying if I said I did not worry about him having a letdown game after getting so jacked up for the Suns. But he came through, with a strong scoring effort, but also with the myriad contributions we have already grown to expect from him, with 5 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal, and just (for him) 2 turnovers.
A couple of complaints – the assists are still down, just 20 on 36 fields (55.5%) and the turnovers are still up, with 16. That is still too many for a team that plays such a slow pace (last night's game had just 93 possessions). Unfortunately, it is also par for the course with this team – for the season, they have turned the ball over on 17.25% of possessions; last night was actually a “good” night for them at just 17.2% (I had not looked up the numbers until after I said it was too many, thinking this was an aberration – I was disappointed).
Not the starters' greatest performance – 55-51 though they had 2 extra possessions to score (51-49 possession edge for the Charlotte players for those points). Their once lofty net efficiency has begun to drop, and while still in the double figures (+11.1), it was in the high teens a month ago. To be fair, a slate of Magic, Rockets, and Suns would be a challenge for most teams – perhaps they can re-live some of their former glory with games against the Warriors and Clippers ahead. Two more games that I imagine they will be favored in – 2 more games they need to win to keep hopes alive.