Charlotte Bobcats vs Pistons, 4/10/10
The Charlotte Bobcats survived a late Pistons push for a 99-95 victory at the Cable Box on Saturday night. With Raymond Felton out due to flu-like symptoms and coach Larry Brown trying to limit the minutes of banged-up stars Gerald Wallace (33 minutes) and Stephen Jackson (28), the Cats needed their backup guards to pick up the slack. DJ Augustin (13 points/9 assists in 40 minutes) and Larry Hughes (18 points on 6-10 FG/4-6 3PT, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals in 26 minutes) obliged.
With Raymond Felton scratched due to flu-like symptoms, DJ Augustin got the start and 40 minutes of playing time. The Cats and Pistons played a pretty close first half, with the Cats coming out on top 50-43. The Bobcats proceeded to build 11 point leads a couple different times during the third quarter, but the rest of the way the Pistons made it interesting.
Ben Gordon and Jason Maxiell led the Pistons on a 27-13 run over a 9 minute stretch spanning the 3rd and 4th quarters that culminated in an Austin Daye three for an 88-85 Pistons lead with 5:15 left. The Pistons accomplished this against an odd Bobcats lineup of Hughes/Jack/Graham/Brown/Chandler that just wasn’t getting it done; so down the stretch Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw and DJ Augustin returned to the floor to restore sanity.
DJ hit a tough, fading jumper with just over a minute left to put the Bobcats up 96-95. Some scrambling Bobcats defense and a little luck would make that lead hold up.
The ensuing Pistons possession seemingly lasted forever; for the record, it included 0-5 field goals (2 of them threes), 4 offensive rebounds, 2 Pistons timeouts, and accounted for almost a full minute of game time. Gerald Wallace finally ended the fiasco with a rebound with 16 seconds left, but only hit 1-2 free throws to keep the Pistons hopes alive.
Fortunately, the Pistons would miss again; this time Larry Hughes secured the rebound, then hit 2-2 free throws to secure the win.
- The Cats were rocking some awesome black warm-up t-shirts with “Clinched” across the chest — a blue version was available in the Team Store. Well played, Bobcats, but still no match for our SarcophaCrash Gerald Wallace t-shirts, now on sale for the playoffs for $18!
- Tyson Chandler was 9-10 from the free throw line — he added a tip-in for 11 points total.
- Stephen Graham was solid-as-usual off the bench: 11 points on 5-6 FG/1-1 3PT in 20 minutes.
- Ty Thomas sat out again with his bad thumb.
- I saw this kid coming up the stairs near my section at halftime and thought, “Wow, that looks like NCAA Champion Jon Scheyer’s 16-year-old doppelganger.” Eventually, after he posed for a few pictures with fans, I realized it was Scheyer himself. Damn, I feel old.
- Strange box score tonight: the Cats outshot the Pistons 53.8% to 45.6% and beat them at the free throw line 22-26 to 17-26. Rebounds and assists were essentially even. So how did the Cats almost lose this one? 2 issues, both concerning. 1) the Pistons nabbed 13 offensive rebounds and 2) the Cats coughed up 15 turnovers. Can’t be giving up extra possessions in the playoffs like that.
- The win pushes the Cats to 31-9 at home on the year. Pretty amazing.
- Technically, there’s still a chance the Cats could get the sixth seed. If the Cats win out (away at New Jersey, home against Chicago) and Miami goes 1-2 to finish the regular season, we’d tie them at 45-37, and would get the nod due to winning the season series against them. But the Heat have the Knicks, Sixers and Nets in their last three games, and figure to go 2-1 at the absolute worst.
- The Cats get a day of rest on Sunday before taking on the Nets in New Jersey on Monday night (7:30 PM ET start). In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, the Cats have turned in a couple of embarrassing performances in losing two in a row to the Nets, the NBA’s worst team this year. Don’t count on it happening again on Monday.