Score: 107-97 Charlotte
Charlotte Bobcats record: 13-18
Offensive Efficiency: 120.2
Defensive Efficiency: 109.0
Meritorious Players: Stephen Jackson – 35 points on 20 attempts, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover. And D.J. Augustin led the bench mob – he finished with 13 points on 7 attempts in just 18 minutes. The trio of D.J., Ronald Murray, and Derrick Brown contributed 29 points in 44 minutes off the bench – big help and it showed as they had the 3 best +/- marks for the Cats on the evening.
It was the Bobcats best offensive performance of the season – and it of course came about in large part due to two main things: Free throws and turnovers. The Bobcats hit their attempts at the charity stripe like a championship marksman, going 28 of 31 for better than 90% as a team. On the giveaways, they committed just 13 – their 6th lowest mark of the season.
A bad note about those turnovers – despite it being such a great night for them, it still was bad enough for the worst rate in the league. They turned the ball over on 14.6% of their possessions, which would tie with Boston for league worst rate. My apologies for the interruption to the hugs and puppies recap, but I thought it bore mentioning.
I will go ahead and get this negativity out of my system – it was also the team's sixth worst defensive outing of the season, by defensive efficiency. Good news though: That number is due almost entirely to hot three-point shooting by the Heat, at 45.8%. For the season, the Bobcats are 6th best in the league at defending the 3, allowing opponents to make just 33% for the year, so tonight most likely represents a fluke shooting night, not some systematic defensive issue.
Back to the rainbows and cookies: The Bobcats won, won big, and won on the road. Not a bad evening – and it was a team effort. Already mentioned were the strong performances of Jax and the gunning bench trio, but the other 4 starters all managed to contribute. Of the 5 starters, all but Nazr Mohammed played 35+ minutes – Nazr was limited to 16 due to matchup issues with Udonis Haslem, but in his short time he tossed in 10 points. Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw had comparable nights (though Boris outpaced Ray in turnovers, 4 to 1) – 9 points for each, 6 assists for Ray, 5 for Boris. Boris even had 5 rebounds, so solid game. Gerald Wallace had a slow night for him, but a good night for most with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Attaboys all around.
One final note: The Bobcats managed just 4 offensive rebounds and continued their descent down the league stats page for offensive rebound rate – now the Cats rank 17th at 26.3% of potential offensive rebounds grabbed. They continue to show strongly on the defensive glass at 6th in the league in defensive rebound rate – and it may well be Larry Brown's decision to not attack the offensive glass more aggressively – but potentially easy attempts most hold some intrigue for a group like the Bobcats who have trouble holding on to the ball – offensive rebounds tend to come near the glass with a chance for a lay-in or foul…and these would not even hold the risk of a forced pass to a teammate to get it. I am not saying the Bobcats need to change their strategy but just wondering if it is something that might be best to re-evaluate due to their other limitations.