Bobcats Chronicles

How a young NBA franchise gets it going

Recap: Bobcats 93 Timberwolves 92 – Nazr’s Nice Night

Posted by Sup on February 11, 2010

Boxscore Recap

The John Hollinger profile of Nazr Mohammed, available to ESPN Insiders.

(Nazr) Mohammed turned 32 last year and he’s never been in the greatest of shape; it appears the latter weakness may be catching up with him. However, he can defend post players reasonably well and provide six fouls off the pine. Plus, his terrible shooting percentage from last season is probably an outlier given the scarcity of minutes. He’s useful as a fifth big man at worst, and with two years and $13 million left on his deal, he hasn’t run out of chances just yet.

It’s a good thing, too.

Mohammed had the most dominant performance of his career and his most important dunk of the season last night. The Bobcats had squandered a 21 point lead against the usually hapless Minnesota Timberwolves, fallen behind by three, and cut it to one on a Stephen Jackson layup. Boris Diaw missed a long jumper that Mohammed could not grab, but Corey Brewer violated one of the basic rules you are taught from the time you start playing basketball: never save the ball form going out of bounds under your own basket. Brewer dove over the end line and flipped the ball back inbounds, directly to Mohammed, who dunked the inadvertent pass home to provide the final margin.

It was the capper on a game that saw Nazr complete a 21 point, 20 rebound performance, the second 20-20 for a Bobcats player this season. And they needed every bit of it. Raymond Felton sat out last night on his ouchy ankle, and Gerald Wallace looked exhausted after putting up his 48 minute night against the Wizards (5 points, 9 rebounds). Jackson pumped in 33 points, but only scored 2 in the fourth quarter, going 1-4. Diaw had another game of offensive aggressiveness, earning a Kirilenko-like 5x5x5x3 (15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks). D.J. Augustin played well as a starter, putting a 14 point 7 assist performance, though most of his best work was done in the first half.

The Bobcats were grinding the Wolves into the court through most of the first 3 periods. Despite only forcing 9 turnovers (to 16 of their own), Charlotte was scoring from everywhere, shooting 40% from three, dominating the boards 48-35, and limiting the Wolves to one double figure scorer, Al Jefferson. But in the fourth, the Wolves were able to go on extended runs while Bobcats shooters cooled off dramatically. The 11-3 run up to the six and a half minute mark of the fourth pulled the Wolves to within one, with Ramon Session, Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes doing the work. Three Bobcats turnovers in the period helped their cause, and when the Wolves took a three point lead on a Jefferson jump hook with 57 seconds to go, the Bobcats looked primed for an epic collapse.

But the Bobcats showed some of the resilience they have been demonstrating through much of the season. After a timeout, Diaw recovered a Mohammed miss to get an uncontested layup, cutting the Minnesota lead to one. The defense then forced a Gomes 17 footer that missed, setting up the Brewer brain cramp and Mohammed heroics.

So the Bobcats enter the All Star break over .500 for the first time in franchise history. They have their first All Star, and have sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference. There are still questions to be answered, like will they make a move before the trade deadline next week. But if you had told any Bobcats fan that this would be the situation at this point in the season, I would guarantee you they would be happy with it.

‘Cat of the Night – There is no question; Nazr Mohammed. 40 minutes, 21 points, 20 rebounds and a big block on an Al Jefferson layup. As great as Wallace’s season has been, Mohammed’s resurgence this season is the unreported story of the NBA.

Stat of the Night – 1-9. Wallace had another relatively weak night, and is shooting only 41% for the month of February, after going for 52% during December and January in that All Star push. He’s a little dinged up now with the hamstring and lingering ankle issues. It would be great to get some rest during the All Star break, but given the choice, I’m betting Wallace will take the All Star Game over kicking back for a few days.

Notable Notables

  • Kevin Love, a player that the Bobcats passed over in the draft, played off the bench last night, going for 9 points and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes. He’s still averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds on the season.
  • Rick Bonnell reported that the game was completely blacked out. Local television and radio in Charlotte and Minneapolis were committed to other things, so the only way to hear it was over HD radio. I watched it on my iPhone using NBA League Pass, but it was the in stadium feed, so many plays were not shown because the “broadcast” was on whatever was being shown on the Target Center JumboTron. There were a lot of baseline angles and obstructed shots as well.
  • Tyson Chandler was not very productive in his 12 minutes, scoring 2 points and committing 4 fouls, including one of his now legendary moving screens.
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