Score: 113-108 Charlotte
Charlotte Bobcats record: 15-18
Offensive Efficiency: 110.8
Defensive Efficiency: 105.9
Meritorious Players: Gerald Wallace just barely over Ronald Murray. Crash finished with 32 on 16 attempts, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, and just 1 turnover.
And Flip was right there with him in impact: 25 points on 12 attempts in just 30 minutes of work, to go with 2 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and 2 turnovers. Both guys made their free throws – Gerald was 10 for 11 and Flip 6 of 7, with both making some in crunch time as the game wound down. In fact, the Bobcats had another strong effort at the line last night, going 27 of 33. Team effort all around, highlighted by the performances of these two.
They were not alone and certainly were not in the last 6 minutes of the game, when the Bobcats held on for the win. 5 Bobcats scored in the last 6 minutes – Gerald with 4, Ronald with 4, Stephen Jackson with 4, and then Boris Diaw and Raymond Felton with 2 a piece. The Bobcats did their normal of attacking, drawing, and kicking to the open man and it worked for the most part down the stretch, save for one possession where Boris passed up a 3, dribbled a few times before dumping it to Jax on the perimeter with just a few seconds to get a shot up – that possession wound up a shot clock violation. That was 1 of the Bobcats 14 turnovers and the only one in the last 6 minutes, when the Bulls managed to fight back into the game.
And the Bulls got back in it by attacking D.J. Augustin with Derrick Rose on the pick and roll – D.J. was helpless against Rose and the Bulls capitalized with 6 straight points from Rose on the pick and roll – 3 layups. Rose finished the night with 24 points on 19 attempts, and just 3 attempts at the stripe, so overall the Bobcats did a decent job of slowing him down outside of that stretch.
The Bobcats now sit at 7th in the conference, at 15-18. They have played one more road game than home games, so this is not a case of them staying healthy in the standings from the home-heavy early schedule of season's past. Right now, Hollinger's playoff predictor puts them at 40 wins for the season and staying in that 7th spot. I know it is early – but “hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing”.