Charlotte Bobcats @ Knicks, 12/20/09
Wallace Sits, Jackson Leaves Early
The Charlotte Bobcats dropped another road game Sunday evening, this time 98-94 to the New York Knicks. AP recap here, box score here. Since defeating these same Knicks in Charlotte last Tuesday, the Bobcats have lost three in a row and now stand at 10-16 overall (1-12 road) and have fallen to 9th place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks, on the other hand, have won 6 of 8.
The big story for the Bobcats here is the Gerald Wallace was held out of the game after experiencing a severe headache. Details are frankly sketchy, but it seems that Gerald must have complained of a headache sometime Sunday. The training/coaching staff made the decision to hold him out, no doubt recognizing Gerald’s personal concussion history (along with the recent increased sensitivity to head injuries in the sports world in general). Per Larry Brown’s postgame comments, Wallace (true to form) tried to convince the staff that he could play, but they stuck with their original decision.
Wallace looked OK on the bench, and at no time was it ever suggested that the headache was related to any recent blow to the head, so hopefully he’s back next game. But it was certainly awkward for him to have to sit for a headache just a night after he questioned teammates’ effort.
With Wallace out, the Bobcats could have used big games from Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw. But Boris was limited due to foul trouble, and Jackson went out with back spasms in the third quarter.
Despite this, the Bobcats were able to hang around and make a run at it late in the fourth quarter. The Knicks didn’t play particularly well, but they did take and make a lot of threes — 11-25 — which kept the Cats at bay.
Hot Mess Of A Finish
As noted, the Bobcats stayed within striking distance; and not surprisingly, the Knicks nudged the door open a little wider with several mistakes down the stretch. Wilson Chandler threw the ball away with 30 seconds left and the Knicks only made 3-6 FTs after that. But the Bobcats weren’t sharp enough to take advantage. They didn’t close out on the Knicks’ 3-point shooters well, and Boris Diaw missed two threes with under a minute left, either of which would have been huge.
But the biggest boner was on the last play. With no timeouts left and nine seconds on the clock, Danilo Gallinari made only one of two free throws to give the Knicks a two point lead. Diaw had fouled out putting Gallinari on the line, so he’s done. You want all your available penetrators and 3-point shooters on the floor in such a situation, right? So maybe Felton, DJ, Flip and Gerald Henderson. Probably one guy who could crash the boards, too, right? Derrick Brown?
Instead, Larry Brown chose to take Acie freakin’ Law out of mothballs. Not only that, but on the inbounds after Gallinari’s made free throw the Bobcats looked completely flummoxed and Acie Law ended up getting the ball. Instead of getting it to Raymond, who had been very effective penetrating against the Knicks (lack of) interior D, Law took off. Yes, the guy who has played 71 minutes all year and only 5 since being traded to the Bobcats a month ago is your go-to man with the game on the line.
Law weaved through traffic and made his way towards the rim, but never really got a great angle or enough separation from the Knicks’ defenders. He also didn’t see Raymond Felton, who looked to be available for the kickout. Law’s layup attempt was swatted away by Danilo Gallinari, who gladly atoned for his missed free throw.
In the postgame comments, Brown implied that Law was indeed supposed to get the ball, but that the hope was to penetrate and kickout for a game-winning three. Really? Acie Law?
- Jonathan Bender took a nice step in his comeback, playing 15 minutes and hitting 3-3 3-pointers.
- DJ has maybe kinda-sorta snapped out of his funk: 2-4 3PTs and 3 assists in 20 minutes.
- Next game is Tuesday night at the Cable Box, hosting the Pistons at 7 PM ET.