Score: 93-92 Bobcats defeat Minnesota Timberwolves
Charlotte Bobcats record: 26-25
Offensive Efficiency: 106.9
Defensive Efficiency: 105.7
Meritorious Player: Nazr Mohammed – 21 points, 20 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and 1 assist for Nazr – and one of those rebounds and 2 of those points were the game-winning play. Right place, right time.
I saw just the final 57 seconds, having pulled up the game on Mobile League Pass (or whatever it is called) just after the the Wolves took the lead by 3 over the Cats. So, I only saw the good parts – the Bobcats scored on both of their final possessions and claimed the victory. The basket to get them within one – an offensive rebound and put back by Boris Diaw, part of a solid night for Diaw – 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks. After forcing Ryan Gomes to take a contested mid-range jumper, the Bobcats rebounded and advanced. After some probing of the defense by D.J. Augustin, Boris winds up with the ball again, drives to the top of the lane…and actually shoots the jumper. It missed and as Al Jefferson and Corey Brewer battled for the ball, they knocked it out of bounds – so Brewer saves it – with a perfect bounce pass to Nazr under the basket for the dunk and the Bobcats lead. The Wolves announcers were incredulous – and you can't blame them. It is a lesson basketball players learn from the beginning: Do not save the ball underneath the opponent's basket. The Bobcats were able to capitalize on the mistake and Nazr took advantage of being in the right place at the right time and the Bobcats escaped with a win in a game they had been up by 21 in previously (which the Wolves announcers had already mentioned would be the 4th biggest comeback in team history – oops).
How did the Bobcats blow such a lead? 7 turnovers in the fourth quarter had a lot to do with, as that was nearly half of their total for the game (16 overall). But why did they wear down in the fourth? Well, Larry Brown went with an 8-man group again tonight, and a night after playing 48 minutes, Gerald Wallace saw an additional 42. Stephen Jackson followed up 45 minutes with another 45 – he did have 33 points on just 21 attempts, but he also led the team with 4 turnovers. Boris played 37 after nearly 41 a night ago. Oh, and the Bobcats were without Raymond Felton – so D.J. Augustin logged his heaviest night of the season with 42 minutes, and contributed 12 points, 7 assists, and just 1 turnover for the game. The bench played just 35 minutes, split between Tyson Chandler, Ronald Murray and Acie Law, who combined for 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 turnovers. A heavy burden on the starters for the second game of a back to back – but, thanks to Corey Brewer, a win nonetheless.