Score: 92-89 Bobcats
Bobcats Record: 14-24
Meritorious Player: Shannon Brown, with 9 points on 3 attempts (3 of 3 from the floor, including a three, plus 2 of 2 at the stripe) and 1 steal. It might not seem like much, but he had a couple of key baskets late in the game, including a huge 3 as the shot clock wound down that gave the Bobcats a 3 point lead with under 3 minutes to go. Charlotte was +9 with Shannon on the court, in just 12 minutes, with a net efficiency of +84.5.
Matt Carroll – out. D.J. Augustin – only 4 minutes, left with a groin injury. Gerald Wallace – 20 minutes, 0 points on 0 attempts. A 13-point deficit in the 3rd quarter. Yet the Bobcats pulled it out. How?
Unexpected contributions: Shannon Brown, as mentioned above, came up big in the clutch. Adam Morrison had another solid game, with 11 points on 7 attempts, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Juwan Howard had what was probably his best game as a Bobcat (providing the Washington faithful plenty of chance to boo their former All-Star), with 12 points (9 attempts), 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks in just 17 minutes. All told, the Bobcats got 37 of their 92 points from their bench – made all the more surprising by the fact D.J. was out for the most part.
Another surprising number: 17 – the number of field goal attempts Raja Bell had in the game, leading the Bobcats. That number is a new season high for Bell, besting his previous 14. He shot a slightly below average 41% on the attempts (7 makes), but with 3 hits from distance, came out with passable 19 points on the 17 attempts. Nothing wrong with Bell taking the shots, he is a good shooter – but it was just a little unusual to see the “defensive ace” turn into a gunner for a night.
The Bobcats starters, who less than a week ago had one of the best net efficiencies in the league, had a sub-par night, “losing” by 2 to the Wizards, 23-21 in just under 12 minutes of action together. Their efficiencies were 91.3 offensive and 100.0 defensive, so it was the offense that was their problem – not to shocking when Gerald had no attempts, Raymond had 6 turnovers, and Emeka only had 9 points in the game. Again – thank you, Bobcats' bench.
Final note of an unlikely number. 25% – two players for the Bobcats (who played more than 10 minutes) allowed their man to shoot only 25% from the field. The surprise is in the duo that accomplished it: Shannon Brown and Adam Morrison. While Nick Young torched Raja Bell most of the night (14 points on 83% shooting against Raja), Shannon slowed him down quite well, giving up just 2 points in 9 minutes on 33% shooting. Adam had a bit easier cover for most of the game in Dominic McGuire (who is shooting below 40% for the season), but still worth pointing out that he was not giving up as many as he got.
I have to admit, I did not expect the Bobcats to fight back into once they got down by double digits. I did not expect them to hold onto their lead once Washington had a chance to regain it late. The Bobcats proved me wrong and I enjoyed every minutes of it (well, except the part where they got behind by a lot).