Boxscore of Magic and Bobcats – Game 3
Score: 90-86 Orlando
Bobcats record: 0-3
Offensive Efficiency: 94.5
Defensive Efficiency: 98.9
Meritorious Player: Larry Hughes 14 points, (5-6 FGs, 2-3 3PTRS), 3 rebounds
“They're beating us. On both ends.”
Those were the words of Stephen Jackson following the Charlotte Bobcats 90-86 loss to the Orlando Magic. Succinct and painful, those words are the truth. No team is going to blowout the other in this series because these defenses are too good, the closest thing you'll see to a blowout is the Magic's 15 point win on Wednesday. Even Dwight Howard admits you won't see high scores in this series, “You're not going to see a team score 100 points in this series. You've got two teams fighting.”
So the Bobcats weren't going to ride home crowd's energy to a blowout or a double digit win this game: It was going to come down to key possessions and Charlotte's execution or in this case the lack there of. The Bobcats shot 29% from the field in the fourth quarter and while they did make 8-of-9 free throws in the final frame, Orlando went to the line 19 times on there own in the fourth.
Larry Brown says they should have attacked more, “we took too many shots from the outside especially when we were in the bonus, that I think impacted the game.” The one guy the Bobcats have that you know will put his head down and attack the basket is Gerald Wallace but he rarely touched the ball in the fourth quarter, “He's got to be more involved,” says Brown. “If you watch us play (when) we come down the right side and Gerald on the left, he might as well turn around and run back.” Brown says they have to do a better job of balancing the floor when the run plays and moving the ball from strong side to weak to get Wallace more involved.
But honestly this may be more about the fact that Charlotte just doesn't have the weapons to match Orlando. The Bobcats have done a good job taking away Howard's inside presence on offense, but all the attention they're paying to Dwight is leaving another player open, that's either been one of the many three point shooters or Jameer Nelson.
Before the game Larry Brown was asked if they needed a third scorer and he replied, “we need a third, fourth, and fifth.” Larry Hughes did step up for Charlotte today scoring 14 points but there wasn't really a fourth or fifth as Felton scored a couple of points late but missed 9-of-his-14 shots and all four of his three pointers. Meanwhile Nelson torched Felton on the other end scoring 19 points in the first quarter on his way to another 32 points.
The disappointing part is that for an afternoon the Charlotte Bobcats had the attention of the Queen City. On my way to the arena I saw people tailgating and playing games in the parking lot. The cable box was as loud as ever if not louder and everyone was ready to go for the opening tip. But late in the fourth quarter when Stephen Jackson missed an open three that would have given Charlotte a two point lead the energy started leave the building. This was the Bobcats moment to matter for the first time, but they blew it. Now this team that showed so much fight all season is a loss from being swept away as a sidenote to the 2010 postseason.