Bobcats vs Celtics – 04/01/2009 – Boxscore
Score: 111-109 Celtics (2-OT)
Bobcats Record: 34-41 (1.5 games out of 8th, 2 games out of 7th)
Co-Meritorious Player: Boris Diaw – 17 points on 13 attempts, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, but 4 turnovers. Gerald Wallace – 20 points on 18 attempts (plus 4 of 4 free throws), 10 boards, 4 steals, 1 block – 1 turnover to 0 assists. Neither line leaves you in awe, leading me to the Co-designation.
If you are feeling a strong sense of disappointment in the team right now, because they blew a late 8-point lead, remember this: You did not expect them to win before the game started. I know I did not anyway. With the Cats knocking off the Lakers in a not-easy contest last night, I did not expect them to have the legs needed to stay in one the very next night against the defending champs. I keep reminding myself of that fact when I start playing the what-if game: What if they had stayed with Eddie House better, what if they had used their foul they had to give on Pierce before he kicked to Allen for the game-winning three? Valid questions – but…respect the effort.
The Bobcats played a tremendous game overall. Yes, there were lapses and ultimately it cost them a game they had a chance to win. But the effort they gave and the solid results it produced bode well for the next couple of weeks and the Bobcats attempts to sneak into the playoffs. Consider that:
-The Bobcats forced 25 turnovers, including 12 steals. That kind of defense creates easy opportunities and the Bobcats capitalized with 32 points on those turnovers.
-The Cats had 20 offensive rebounds – to the Celtics 29 defensive. Yes, the Bobcats grabbed over 40% of available offensive rebounds, a ridiculous mark.
Charlotte had 7 players in double figures, led by Gerald's 20, then Boris' 17, D.J. and Ray with 14 apiece, Raja and Mek with 12 each, and Vlad rounding it out with 10. Solid team effort – and improving depth. Gana and Juwan combined for another 10. Not too shabby.
So, all those good things – why did they lose then? Well, their offense was good – but their defense was not quite as good (or the Celtics offense was better – you pick). While Boston shot only 11 of 29 from 3-point range, it seemed like every time they took one late in the game when it mattered, it went in. And though 11 of 29 does not sound that great, it is 1.13 points per shot, so nothing to sneeze at (and that does not even include the 3 free throws Paul Pierce made when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt). The Bobcats had a couple of instances where they let Ray Allen and Eddie House get free and they paid for it.
The other cause of their downfall – free throws. Boston got to the line for 26 (making 18) and the Cats just 7 (5 makes) – despite playing 10 extra minutes of basketball. -13 at the line is problematic – the Cats have won exactly 2 games (against 7 losses) this season when they were outscored by more than 10 at the line, the two recent contests against the Raptors. Interesting note about the free throw attempts – the Bobcats attempted fewer 3s and had more offensive rebounds (which generally occur in high traffic areas), yet got to the line less. I think I am now supposed to say “I'm not saying, I'm just saying”.
Yes, it was a loss. Immediately after the game ended, I was feeling let down. Upon reflection though, I am excited – the Bobcats just beat the Lakers and forced the Celtics to make 2 last second (ok, last 20 second) 3s to beat them. I would be concerned if I were the Bulls/Pistons.