Score: 104-65 Bobcats
Charlotte Bobcats record: 21-19
Offensive Efficiency: 118.2
Defensive Efficiency: 71.4
Meritorious Players: Michael Beasley…just kidding – Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson again. Crash had 20 points on 11 field goal attempts, plus 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 steals, 2 assists, and 0 turnovers. Jax had 24 on 10 attempts, and added 4 assists; plus Jackson helped hold Dwayne Wade to just 16 points on 16 attempts and 4 turnovers. Had Jax not had 4 of his own, his name alone would have been on the digital marquee, but oh well.
As for Michael Beasley – well, Rick Bonnell reports that Beasley provided some motivation for the Bobcats: “If we stay together and stay focused, it should be an easy win.” I guess they did not stay together and focused. Or maybe Beasley did not realize the Heat were taking on a team that is neck and neck with them in the standings – a team that has been playing far better basketball of late than his Heat squad. But enough piling on Beasley – at least he offered more than “one game at a time” and other cliches. Whatever the NBA equivalent of kangaroo court is can take care of him.
It is not often you get to say season best or franchise best, so here are a couple: Tonight represented the Bobcats best defensive efficiency mark of the season: 71.4. That it came against a mediocre offensive squad in the Heat actually makes it more impressive – the Bobcats best previous effort came against the AAA-New Jersey Nets. As for franchise best, the 39 point margin of victory sets that mark – for the second time this season as the Bobcats beat down the Raptors by 35 back in November.
As is probably obvious from the defensive efficiency, this win was a result of stifling Miami's offense. While the Bobcats did their usual strong work on the boards, grabbing over 75% of available defensive rebounds, and in creating turnovers, 14 by the Heat in just 91 possessions, the real catalyst was forcing miss after miss by the Heat. The Heat managed to shoot just 28.9% from the floor for the game – that is the second worst performance of any team in the league this season (leading only Detroits 27.9% against, of all teams, Toronto on 12/23). Dorrell Wright was the only Miami player to shoot better than 50% from the field, going 6 for 11. Next best? Carlos Arroyo at 2 of 5.
The one complaint I have? The Bobcats were careless with the basketball, with 20 turnovers. But when they are up 21 points after a quarter and up 27 at the half, it stands to reason their concentration may wane. The good news is that it did not wane enough to allow Miami back in the game like Sacramento – though the Cats wasted possessions offensively, they stayed committed defensively and kept the Heat at bay. 6 straight wins, 3rd in the division, and 5th in the conference. Time to hit the road and improve that road record – the Cats should not be lacking for confidence following this recent stretch of play.