Score: 125-99 Bobcats
Charlotte Bobcats record: 19-19
Offensive Efficiency: 128.9
Defensive Efficiency: 102.1
Meritorious Players: Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace: The two tied for the game-high in points with 29. Jax needed 17 attempts to get there and just 15 for Crash. As if that wasn't enough, Jackson threw in 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals and Gerald also contributed 13 rebounds – 10 defensive in just 29 chances.
Tough to say which is more impressive – holding the league's best offense to an efficiency of 102.1 or rolling up 43 points on just 24 possessions in the first quarter – an efficiency of 179.2. That offensive explosion by the Bobcats practically ended the game – with the Suns having already played last night, they threw in the towel early, with no starter seeing even 30 minutes.
While Gerald and Stephen J. were leading the offensive charge, Raymond Felton made me think seriously about being the meritorious player of the night himself: While he finished with just 10 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 0 turnovers (while shooting a tidy 4 of 6 from the floor), his real contribution was stopping the Suns offense: Steve Nash managed just 5 points, 5 assists, and 3 turnovers, while going 2 of 7 from the floor. See, the Bobcats offensive explosion may not have been enough if the defense had not been just as impressive: These Suns have topped an offensive efficiency of 129 four times this season – overall, it has happened just 29 times, and no other team has more than 2 such games. The point: If someone had bet you before this game that one team was going to put up one of the best offensive displays of the season, your money would have been on the Suns because they are that good. Even with tonight's poor performance, they still have the best offensive efficiency in the league by a point, 112.0 to 111.0 for Denver. As good as the Bobcats offense was, do not disregard the impressiveness of the defense – that is all I ask.
66.7% – there will not be many nights this season when the Bobcats shoot that well on threes again. But it was not just the threes that led to strong night – the Bobcats also turned the ball over just 10 times in a 97 possession game. And they grabbed a very respectable 13 rebounds in 41 chances – an offensive rebound rate of nearly 32%, which would good enough to be second in the league. Lastly, they made their free throws at a solid clip, going 23 of 27. While the threes are certainly on the extremes of the bell curve, the rest of the strong offensive game is explained by being solid at everything – if the Bobcats had made their threes at their season rate (about 34%), they still would have posted a respectable efficiency of 113.4 – they would have made just 5 threes, and finished scoring 110 points on 97 possessions. So, yes it was a fluky night – but the fluke was merely the margin of victory, not the victory itself.