Score: 103-84 Charlotte
Bobcats record: 39-35
Offensive Efficiency: 106.2
Defensive Efficiency: 85.7
Meritorious Player: Gerald Wallace with his 33rd double on the season – 24 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 turnovers. Those 24 points came on 8 of 11 from the floor, but just 6 of 10 from the free throw line – but this was not a night struggles from the stripe would be anything more than a nuisance.
40 turnovers between the two teams were the basis for the post title – good news for Bobcats fans is that the Philadelphia 76ers were responsible for 24 of them. Further good news: Fully half of the Bobcats 16 came in the fourth quarter, when this game was already decided. Yes, it was an 18 point game going into the fourth and got as close as 14…but the 76ers were done. Careless passes, lazy, reaching defense – it was not an inspired effort, by either team, but certainly more so for the visitors. One particular play stood out: Gerald Wallace was isolated at the top of the key on Willie Green, with Gerald looking to drive. Willie did not move his feet or even get into a defensive stance, rather just stuck out his arm and grabbed at Gerald as he started his move – it looked like defeat.
The Bobcats did that to them – drove them to that (tonight anyway, a season of losing has certainly contributed). The Bobcats were aggressive on both ends of the court, with 11 steals and 35 free throw attempts. Charlotte had a 12 to 27 advantage in personal fouls – and it did not feel like home-cooking, but just the fact that one team was actually trying and the other pantomiming. Aside from Marreese Speights – he kept making midrange jumpers and had himself a decent game in 22 minutes, with 13 and 5. But with Jason Kapono and Willie Green leading the Sixers in attempts with 15 apiece, and Jrue Holiday manning the point with 6 turnovers, Philly was not in this game.
All those turnovers and few fouls led to a “big” defensive performance, summed up in a (relatively) small number: 85.7. That is the kind of number we like to see out of the Bobcats and they executed on all cylinders (throughout most of the contest) defensively. Tyson Chandler is getting his legs back and it showed tonight, with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and a team defensive efficiency of just 64.6 while he was on the court. Yes, for the nearly half of the game that Tyson played, Philly scored at just 64.6 points per 100 possessions (thank you Tyson for having a big night the day I highlighted your defensive impact).
My only complaint amond the starters was Stephen Jackson needing 19 attempts for 16 points – but those kind of nights happen, and was more than made up for by the efficiency with which Gerald and Tyson got theirs. Raymond Felton got to have a lazy night, playing just 28 minutes, but having a decent line of 9 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals to just 1 turnover despite the short evening (which I am all for – glad that he is getting some rest). Boris Diaw had a very Boris-y game with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, and a block. I always like to see Boris working from the block, and he delivered with a beautiful dime to Tyson early in the fourth for a dunk – he drew a couple of defenders, got the Sixers looking away from the paint, and setup Chandler up for a big flush – just a fun play to watch. While it may be frustrating to play with Boris at times when he is passing up shots, it has to be fun as well when he can create looks like that for his teammates.
39 wins for the Bobcats and 8 to play – 4 at home and 4 on the road. Seventh place in the conference. Two games clear of eighth and four games clear of ninth. The magic number is 5. Get excited.