Bobcats Chronicles

How a young NBA franchise gets it going

Recap: Bobcats 103 Kings 96 – I’ve seen this before

Posted by Sup on January 31, 2010

Boxscore Recap

Journey back with me to January 18th. I had bought a club level ticket off the street outside of the Cable Box, and settled into my seat next to apparently the biggest Omri Casspi fans in North Carolina as the Bobcats were getting ready to take on the Sacramento Kings. Charlotte was on a nice little win streak at home. It looked competitive for a bit, but then the Bobcats reached out and crushed the Kings in the third. Took a 24 point lead into the fourth. Tyreke Evans dominated the ‘Cats guards by getting into the lane repeatedly, and the Kings drew within two. They weren’t able to climb to the top, and the ‘Cats got away with a 105-103 win behind 28 for Gerald Wallace and a near triple double from Raymond Felton. Stephen Jackson struggled with only 11 points on 4-13 from the field. Casspi fans were disappointed…though I loved hearing the heavily accented “Give it to CASSPI!” cries from next to me and thought it was interesting to see the Israeli flags floating around the arena.

Last night, the Bobcats came into Arco Arena after two straight wins on the road. The Kings have been struggling, trying to get a healthy Kevin Martin integrated into the offense with rookie sensation Evans. Jackson comes out looking like the game the night before at Golden State took a lot out of him, as most of his jumpers were short off the rim. He did do a nice job of moving the ball, passing up a wide open transition 3 to get it inside to Wallace for a layup. Defensively, he struggled as well, as Martin was able to get free on plenty of baseline backdoor plays and curls. The Kings got out on the run early and often, scoring in transition on makes and misses. Still, even with a hot shooting first period, the Bobcats stayed well within reach at the end of the quarter, down 33-29.

The second period saw the Bobcats starting to exert their will. Wallace stayed hot, and didn’t miss a shot in the first or second. Nazr Mohammed was also hot, scoring on dunks, layups and jumpers.  At this point, it has looked like all the loose balls and bounces have gone the Kings way until one bounces free to Felton for a layup. Evans, the terror of the Bobcats last time they matched up, has been kept almost silent. And even though Martin is rolling, the Kings can’t keep pace, and reach halftime down 56-54.

The third quarter was termed by Larry Brown “The best we have played in the 1 1/2 years I’ve been here.” And it was an absolute demolition.  A 9-0 run to start of the quarter until a Martin 3 began the avalanche. Another of those scary moments for Wallace when he bangs knees with Evans, but he come back into the game right after the timeout, and doesn’t miss a beat. Well, one: he finally missed a shot. The Kings looked like they were going to fold completely: a missed shot from Martin, and there were no Kings in the lane, and only one on that end of the court. Oof. Seven Kings turnovers in the quarter didn’t help their cause, and the ‘Cats took full advantage. By the time the quarter ended, they were up 23, 90-67. Wallace has shown the total package on offense with a made three, layups, dunks…everything.

And the near collapse: the ball movement that got the Bobcats the big lead disappeared. Multiple times, the ball stopped in the post with Jackson or Wallace, and no rotation freed up anyone for a shot. The Kings, led in their comeback by Sergio Rodriguez, chipped away and chipped away while the Bobcats missed 13. Consecutive. Shots. It was a nightmare, and I really wish we had more shots of Larry Brown chewing up a clipboard as they let the Kings back into this one. They closed to within 4, but a couple of huge blocks by Wallace helped negate two bad turnovers by Felton, and Ray made up for it himself with another late layup to put the ‘Cats up 6, 102-96. A Wallace free throw sealed the win at 107-96, and gave him his second consecutive 30/10 double double (38 points, 11 rebounds) for the second time this season. Jackson’s shooting struggles (5-19, 13 points) were somewhat offset by his floor game, and he finished with 8 assists. Mohammed had another important double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Martin did a lot of damage for the Kings, finishing with 31 points, on 5-11 from three. The Bobcats’ hot 3 point shooting deserted them in this one, going 5-16 from deep.

Brown was of course happy with the win, but not the fourth quarter execution. Talking about the third quarter onslaught, he said  “We rebounded, defended, passed the ball, everything they did in the fourth quarter.” He was able to joke a little about it,  saying “My wife says celebrate the wins because the losses hurt. I’m going to try and celebrate as best I can. Maybe with an In and Out burger.”

Of course, I am glad to get the win. They are now 3-1 on this road trip, with a possibly winnable game at Portland on Monday. If they get that one, they are playing with house money when they meet the Lakers to end the trip. As it is, they will come back no worse than when they left.  But I still have a concern that they aren’t able to control three point shooters consistently, and that they gave up a huge lead in the fourth quarter. There is something to be said about the resilience of the team in holding off a young, hungry squad that suddenly found its stroke and its confidence, even with its putative leader, Tyreke Evans, off the floor with a bruised hip. But when you are up 26, it should never get back within single digits. Put your foot on their neck and squeeze the life out of them. That’s what good teams do to bad teams, especially if it can get some rest for some tired starters. But as coach says, we should celebrate the win, getting them 2 games over .500 again and heading into a matchup with the Trailblazers with out Brandon Roy. Three straight road wins. Who woulda thunk it?

‘Cat of the Night – Unquestionably, Gerald Wallace. His former team basically stood around and watched him destroy them in the third quarter, and they simply had no answer for his all around game. 12-18 from the field, 38 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 15 free throw attempts. But….45 minutes. He should have been able to sit out the fourth quarter.

Stat of the Night – 8-33, the combined shooting of the starting backcourt. Tough defensive assignments may have had something to do with that, but some of Felton and Jackson’s misses were of the really bad, layup that never hits the rim variety. The need this day off today as much as anyone.

Notable Notables

  • Wallace set a season high, and was 4 off his career high
  • Derrick Brown had to jump in early when Boris Diaw picked up two quick fouls in the first period, and made only his second three pointer of the season shortly thereafter. He had college  3 point range, but has not been asked to shoot from range very often with the Bobcats. That’s OK…we like his dunking.
  • I just wonder: what did Paul Westphal do in Phoenix that made him untouchable as a head coach for so long?
  • I think Kevin Martin’s jumper is second only to Shawn Marion’s stroke as ugliest from distance. Now the free throw line? Andris Biederins, hands down.
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