Score: 92-76 Bobcats
Charlotte Bobcats record: 18-19
Offensive Efficiency: 107.0
Defensive Efficiency: 87.4
Meritorious Players: Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace. Both had big nights, with Boris doing just a bit more offensively while Gerald took care of the defense. 26 points for Diaw on just 14 attempts, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks to go along with the scoring. Gerald finished with 21 on 14 attempts, and then added 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 blocks and 4 steals. Yes, 5 blocks and 4 steals – only 4 players this season have managed 4+ blocks and 4+ steals in one game, with Nene Hilario (Nov 17th) and Elton Brand (Nov 20th) both doing the 4+4 thing and Josh Smith matching Gerald with 4 and 5 on 12/26.
After the first half of this one, the Bobcats trailed the Spurs 42-38 – solid defense in the first half for the Bobcats, but a sputtering offense. Over the next 18 minutes, they went BERSERKER. The Spurs had 30 possessions over the next quarter and a half following the break (not counting the one second left on the clock when they got a rebound at the end of the 3rd) – and they managed just 23 points over that time. An offensive efficiency of just 76, the Spurs could not handle the Bobcats aggressive defense: The traps, the aggressive switches on pick and rolls, and the tremendous help defense, often manifested in large blocks as Gerald Wallace flew in from the weak side. There were 7 Bobcat blocks during the run and they forced another 4 turnovers – it was some of the best defense I have seen these Cats play.
And the Bobcats took advantage offensively, running out on the turnovers and getting easy looks. While they were holding the Spurs to an efficiency of 76, the Bobcats put up a mark of 135: 42 points on 31 possessions during the 18 minutes when they put the game away. It was a sight to behold – punctuated by a huge slam from Gerald Wallace where he took off from outside the lane on a fast break created by a steal. Look for it on Sportscenter.
The point guards struggled…shooting the ball – but they distributed it quite well. Raymond Felton was just 1 of 7 from the floor and finished with 4 points; he did have 6 assists and just 1 turnover though. D.J. Augustin had a similar night: 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting and 7 assists with no turnovers. Larry Brown can live with that – along with the solid defensive job they did on Tony Parker – just 11 points, 2 assists, and 4 turnovers (though they were no doubt aided on defense by his plantar fasciitis).
After setting the Bobcats franchise single game scoring record last time out, Stephen Jackson had just 16 tonight, on 14 attempts – but also contributed 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals to the effort. Ronald Murray struggled a bit, going just 3 of 13 from the field, but finished with 11 points thanks to hitting 5 of 6 at the stripe. Flip has never seen a shot he did not want – and that works on this team a lot of the time, because they can dump the ball to him as the shot clock shortens and he will not be looking for a teammate to hand it off to.
With 6 straight wins at home, the Bobcats do not have time to reflect and pat themselves on the back: the Suns come to the Queen City tomorrow night and give the Bobcats a chance to reach .500. Perhaps Boris will follow up tonight with a strong effort against his former employers as he has previously – the only concern being that Boris, Gerald, and Stephen Jackson all played more than 35 minutes tonight (Gerald leading the way at nearly 43). Let's see some Wolvie style from him a second night in row, “snickety, snickety”.