Score: 83-79 Atlanta
Bobcats Record: 7-18
Meritorious Player: Emeka Okafor. 10 points, 11 rebounds, and the only Bobcat with a positive +/- for the night, at +2.
Solid game for the Bobcats through 3 quarters, but the 4th was a train wreck. 3 points through 9 minutes of the 4th, leading to ATL taking up to a 9 point lead. The Bobcats could not get anything to fall, jumpers, layups, whatever. Ugly to watch. The Hawks had something to do with the Cats struggles, as they blocked 6 shots in just the 4th quarter. But Charlotte was not without culpability – the team seemed to revert to bad habits, and were driving all the way to the rim, rather than finding the open man after penetration. Not saying all of the blocks were like that, but it was a part of it. Guys were trying to be the hero, and were taking tough shots (or getting their shot swatted).
Interesting numbers from the game:
Boris Diaw – 23 fga (11 makes)
Raymond Felton – 15 fga (5 makes)
D.J. Augustin – 13 fga (4 makes)
Gerald Wallace – 8 fga (4 makes)
Emeka Okafor – 7 fga (3 makes)
Boris' 23 attempts were easily a season high for him, as the number was 15 previously. I am not complaining about the number of attempts, because for the most part, they were good looks (aside from the air-balled 3 – well, he was wide open, but not sure we wanting him shooting that, despite him making one previously in the game). Diaw was aggressive in posting up and driving to the rim, but cost himself by making only 2-5 free throws. 25 points on 23 attempts is not a good number – even if he made 2 more free throws, 27 on 23 is only tolerable. The discrepancy in attempts between he and Emeka needs to decrease – Diaw can create for others far more effectively than Emeka, but Emeka is a more efficient scorer and needs to get more shots. I imagine Boris is feeling a bit like a kid in a candy store with the freedom he was afforded last night to run the offense for stretches – Larry Brown will have to rein that in a bit, while still taking advantage of his varied skills.
More than the shooting – the Bobcats lost the game on the glass. After pounding Detroit in rebounding, ATL returned the favor, out-rebounding Charlotte 47-33, with 11 offensive rebounds to 4. My incredulity at the Hawks rebounding weakness in the preview yesterday was realized in the game last night – they should be a great rebounding team, and last night they were. For Charlotte, only Gerald and Emeka showed up on the boards, 10 for Gerald and the 11 for Mek. Bell and Diaw – 3 a piece, though Bell managed his in 12 fewer minutes. Boris, we kind of need more than 3 rebounds from our starting 4 in 40 minutes of action. We would expect so a low total from Alexis, not you.
Had Charlotte not missed 11 straight shots spread over the end of the 3rd and the 4th, the losing streak would probably be over. As it is, Diaw showed some more of his skill-set, displaying a solid post game, highlighted by a jump-hook shot that he hit several of last night. The Bobcats were strong with the ball, with only 6 turnovers. They showed enough to know that this streak will not last much longer, perhaps ending tonight against Chicago.