Score: 98-83 Charlotte
Charlotte Bobcats record: 29-31
Offensive Efficiency: 104.3
Defensive Efficiency: 88.3
Meritorious Player:Tyrus Thomas 14pts (7-12FGs) 9 rebs, 2 blk
Talk about a world of difference from Wednesday to Friday, Charlotte forced 20 turnovers, outscored the Lakers bench 40 to 27 and ran them out the building. None of this seemed possible before tonight though as the Bobcats looked as lifeless and uninspired as they've been this season against Boston.
After that game Larry Brown said he thought the team would respond with one of their better games and he was right, from the second quarter on Charlotte looked like a better team than the Lakers. Tyson Chandler played for the first time in a month and for just the fourth time since late December. Despite giving up a three point play on his first play to Andrew Bynum he quickly blocked a shot and then scored off a pick and roll. He also helped frustrate Pau Gasol into a 5-14 night with his length and activity.
But the biggest game changer was Tyrus Thomas whose shot-blocking helped start a few of those fastbreaks where Charlotte outscored LA 22 to 13. He also grabbed some huge rebounds late and made some timely jumpers to ice the game. He's coming along nicely and while he still has room for growth I hope the team is prudent with whatever contract they offer in the offseason, because if he doesn't grow and mature a little more he still could be a bad contract in two years.
Bryant was held mostly in check and the player that Charlotte seemed to have the most trouble defending, Andrew Bynum, only played 24 minutes. Bynum went to the free throw line 11 times in just 24 minutes and had 7 of the Lakers 15 offensive rebounds, finishing with 14 points and 10 boards.
Both coaches made me almost fall out of my chair uncorking Adam Morrison and Gerald Henderson while the game was still undecided. I'll leave the championing of Henderson's cause to another Bobcats site but when a rookie produces 6 points, 2 rebounds a steal and a block in just 12 minutes I think it's a sign he needs to play more. As for Ammo it seemed like old times again, he got in the game and passed up shots while not contributing anything else, I hope he's learning a foreign language in his downtime.
Back-to-back home games are rare and there's a chance that Saturday could be a sellout as well with Stephen Curry coming to town. Charlotte has to take advantage of the schedule to make up some ground in the playoff chase and hopefully win a few fans to boot.