Boxscore of Bobcats vs Raptors – 11/25/2009
Score: 116 – 81 Charlotte
Bobcats Record: 5-9
Offensive Efficiency: 118.4
Defensive Efficiency: 83.5
Meritorious Player: Gerald Wallace 31 pts, 13 rebs, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover
There's plenty of reason for optimism after a game like this. Larry Brown called the 35 point thrashing the Charlotte Bobcats best game, even coming on the heels of an impressive win over Indiana on Sunday, and I think he's right.
This win represents a formula for success that's much easier to duplicate, forcing turnovers and converting them into points at the other end. Charlotte had 41 fast break points, scoring an amazing 29 points off the 18 turnovers they created. Coach Brown says they've been working hard to improve the transition offense, “We're trying to clean up the break a little bit, make it a little simpler and our guards are pushing it a little better. I think that's been a dramatic change.”
The better fastbreak was clearly evident as Raymond Felton had what was arguably his best pure point guard game by throwing the ball ahead to get easy points and not turning the ball over at all. Turnovers have been Charlotte's Achilles heel since the season began and in all honesty was a problem last year too, but there were only 10 miscues against Toronto.
What makes this win so impressive was that it was about a guy hitting his first seven shots and the team riding his hot hand to an fluky high shooting percentage and coasting to a win. No, this was the Bobcats using their defensive prowess to force mistakes and then overwhelm the opposition with their athleticism by running the other team out of the gym.
Keep in mind that when Denver beat Toronto 130 to 112 they only scored 21 fast break points, Phoenix only had 10 in their win over the Raptors so this was impressive. And what helped rattle the Toronto guards was the Bobcats press, “this week we put in a halfcourt press a little bit and even though we only did it two or three times we had opportunities, we got two steals and (the other) we had but didn't come up with it,” says Brown.
Toronto guard Jose Calderon said they had not played a team that pressed like the Bobcats this season and that press forced one of the best ball control guards in the NBA into a season high six turnovers. “The Bobcats are one of the league leaders in steals and they're always going to have active hands. I don't think we were mentally prepared for that,” said Raptor All-Star Chris Bosh.
The one caveat here is that since Toronto plays with perimeter oriented big men it forgives teams that go small against them, also those long jumpers can lead to easy fastbreaks, but given the sheer number of points that Charlotte generated in transition there's plenty of reason to be optimistic that this team has found a strength it can build upon all season.