Boxscore of Hawks and Bobcats
Score: 109-100 Charlotte
Bobcats record: 41-36
Offensive Efficiency: 129.8
Defensive Efficiency: 116.3
Meritorious Player: Boris Diaw again nearly had the Bobcats first triple double, finishing with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, plus 2 blocks, a steal, and just 2 turnovers. Diaw gets the nod over Gerald Wallace's big night by virtue of his +17 +/- mark to Crash's +8.
For Gerald, it was an unusual game – just 6 rebounds and 1 assist with 0 in the steals and blocks columns, but he more than made up for it with a high efficiency (and high-scoring first half). 20 points in the first half for Wallace, 28 for the game on 10-18 from the floor, 8 of 8 at the stripe. With Stephen Jackson aching, Gerald stepping up and taking on a bit more offensive burden carried the Bobcats to an easy win.
The Bobcats carried a 20 point lead after 1 and a 23 point lead at the half. Even with Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson out, that was impressive – but you had to expect a run (obligatory “it's the NBA, everybody makes a run” quote here). And the Hawks made it in the second half, as they scored 64 points in the final 24 minutes. That was good enough to get them within single digits a couple of times, but never all the way back into contention. Some let down from the Bobcats but also a bit of a regression to the mean – 59 points in the first half for Charlotte is not exactly normal. The problem with the second half is that it did not get the Bobcats starters the rest they need – Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, and Raymond Felton all played 35 minutes or more, with Crash leading the way at 41. With a game tonight in New Orleans, that is not what they were hoping for at the half, with a 20+ point lead.
The good news? The Bobcats magic number is down to 2 with games left, as the Bulls dropped a close one to the Bogut-less Bucks. It hurts the Cats chances of moving up a spot, as they still trail both Miami and Milwaukee by 2, but a playoff spot is just 2 wins away (or 1 win and a Bulls loss…or 2 Bulls…you get the idea).