Score: 106-98 Charlotte
Charlotte Bobcats record: 33-31
Offensive Efficiency: 112.8
Defensive Efficiency: 104.3
Meritorious Player: Stephen Jackson 24pts 6 assists, 2 steals
I didn't know who to go with for the MP of this game because everyone played so well, at least at first glance. Most would say why not Raymond Felton, well because he had A LOT of trouble with Baron Davis in this game defensively. As a matter of fact the conventional boxscore numbers make it look like Charlotte played atrocious defense, the Clippers shot 57.5% from the field and 47.4% from three.
But that's why we look at those efficiency numbers, 104.3 isn't awful but it isn't good either. The Bobcats held LA down by forcing so many turnovers and converting those to easy shots in their 29-3 fastbreak point advantage.
Most of the damage was done in the first half as Gerald Wallace had four steals in just 21 minutes, with most of them creating easy transition points like the play he was injured on. I tweeted this during the game and still believe it now, while Baron Davis isn't a dirty player that was a dirty play. Baron was embarrassed that he was undressed by the Bobcats defense and wanted to make up for it; however, Gerald was too fast for him to grab so he pushed and tried a half-hearted swipe at the ball to make it look clean. Bad basketball no matter how you look at it.
That is the unfortunate thing about the Bobcats fifth straight win they could lose Wallace for a game or two and that could be big as far as playoff seeding. Larry Brown said that x-rays are negative but the fact that Gerald didn't return is telling. He's the Bobcats toughest player and his play really embodies this team's strengths.
The reason Charlotte leads the league in free throw differential is because of Gerald's fearless drives to the paint. The reason Charlotte succeeds in transition is because Gerald is electric and deadly on the fastbreak, and you can't forget he still leads the team in rebounding and is third in both blocks and steals.
The good news is that at least Gerald Henderson is in the rotation so he'll likely get a chance to play extended minutes and ironically many of his strengths are very similar to Gerald's. Orlando will present quite a challenge for Charlotte as they've lost seven straight to the Magic. Game-time is at 6 on Sunday and don't miss the tip because you forgot to set your clock forward this weekend.