Boxscore of Pistons and Bobcats
Score: 95-90 Charlotte
Bobcats record: 43-37
Offensive Efficiency: 115.1
Defensive Efficiency: 113.1
Meritorious Player: D.J. Augustin gets the nod with 13 points on 12 attempts, 9 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and just 1 turnover. Most importantly, D.J. played 40 minutes as Raymond Felton missed the game with flu-like symptoms – and the Bobcats managed without Ray and D.J. gained some confidence heading into the playoffs (and hopefully Larry Brown regained some confidence in D.J. as well).
Quick recap of a game that again did not make much difference in the overall scheme of things – the Bobcats are almost certain to be the 7th seed and they cannot fall to the 8th spot. Detroit is playing for pride (and Joe Dumars' reputation? This is the squad he put together, finally somewhat healthy) but gave the Cats a run for it. Defense being the primary culprit of the close game – and defensive rebounding the more specific failing. Charlotte surrendered 13 offensive rebounds to just 29 defensive grabs. Combined with a 14-10 advantage for Detroit on turnovers, the Pistons took 79 field goal attempts to the Bobcats 65. My favorite example: The Pistons first possession of the second half lasted for a minute and 7 seconds. The Bobcats committed 3 fouls over the course of the possession and the Pistons had 4 field goal attempts (just 1 rebound credited, as 2 were “team” rebounds). Yes, the Pistons failed to capitalize – but it was not a comforting a scene, with the Cats on defense for over a 12th of the quarter consecutively.
I also feel compelled to mention Larry Hughes' performance: 18 points on 10 attempts with 5 assists…but 5 turnovers and 4 of 6 from the three. Why do I consider that a negative? Well, Hughes is not a great shooter (31% on threes for his career) and the Bobcats do not need him to be a volume shooter or to rely on jumpers. The Bobcats drive and go to the foul line – a lot – and that is what Hughes should focus on. To his credit – he should have earned one more free throw attempt, bumping his total to 3. On the play where he hit a baseline jumper from behind the backboard, Hughes was bumped hard by a Pistons defender and only took the shot to draw the call – no whistle, but the shot went in and made SportsCenters top-plays, and they even commented that Hughes made the shot while being fouled. They were correct – but it was not called, so I chuckled (Good story, thanks for sharing – sorry for rambling).
Good news: No Bobcats regular starter played more than 34 minutes, with Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw leading in that department. Stephen Jackson saw just 27 minutes (in part due to foul trouble), Tyson Chandler just 20 and Raymond Felton, again, sat out. Resting up for the playoffs for a night at least, the Cats still managed to get a win at home. That is all – 2 to go and then the real action gets started.