Charlotte Bobcats @ Kings 1/30/10
Running diary-style as the Bobcats attempt to go 3-1 on the road trip. Our Gerald Wallace “SarcophaCrash” t-shirts are moving fast, and we’re not printing many, so get one while you can!
The Bobcats jump out to an early 12-9 lead four minutes in, leading to the first timeout; but the Kings bounce back with an 9-2 run. Diaw is going to have to sit for awhile after picking up his second foul — Derrick Brown in early.
And now Brown picks up two quick fouls — might see the Bobcats have to go small tonight. The Kings go on lead by as much as 9, but the Cats finish the quarter strong to pull to within four, 33-29.
Both teams over 60% FG for the quarter, but a few too many easy baskets for the Kings early on and Cats made only 1-5 FT to account for the margin.
Gerald Wallace starts the quarter off with a tough three point play, defensive stop, then another Gerald Wallace bucket in the paint to briefly take the lead, 34-33.
Derrick Brown with just his second three of the year — Cats 3-4 from behind the arc early. Make that 4-5 as Flip drains another one to give the Cats a 43-39 lead into a timeout.
Gerald Wallace is up to 14 points, 7 rebounds already — 6-6 FG.
I missed the MLK Day matinee game in Charlotte between these two teams, so this is my first time watching the Kings. I can see why they’re excited. They really nailed the draft with Evans and Casspi, huh? And why does everyone think that Evans and Martin can’t play together? Evans is a powerful slasher, Martin is a shooter — that’s perfect. Even better when you want to bring in a backup PG and go small.
It’s 56-54 Cats at the half in a fun one — not much defense being played as both teams are still over 50% FG. Too much of Kevin Martin and his fugly shot: 21 points on 7-14 FG/3-7 3PT/4-4 FT. Tyreke Evans has been quiet (2-4 FG) — not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Nazr with 13 points on 6-8 FG and Flip with 10 on 4-6. Cats need to watch the turnovers — 7 already in the first half.
Boris Diaw back after sitting most of first half with two fouls — almost forgot about him. Naz kicks things off with a bucket off a post move. Now Felton steals an entry pass to Evans, Jack with a sweet feed to Wallace on the delayed break for a layup, and Donte Green fouls Boris underneath trying to get over to challenge the layup. Boris hits the free throw for the odd “three-point-play by two different guys.” Another miss for the Kings and Gerald Wallace gets a runout dunk. 7-0 run for the Cats to start the half, 63-54 now — Kings need a timeout.
Gerald Wallace now limping badly, causing enough concern that Larry Brown calls a timeout. But apparently Crash just banged his knee and is fine.
Raymond Felton is working so hard to deny Tyreke Evans the ball — and he’s been very effective at it so far. Evans can’t get going. Cats get a turnover as Hawes can’t get a good angle on the entry pass to Evans and throws it away. Strong work by Ray-Ray.
Bobcats stretch the lead to 10, 69-59 on Gerald Wallace free throws. Crash is up to 22/8 halfway through the third.
And a 20-footer by Wallace extends the lead to 73-59. Kings need a TO and a momentum shift as they are starting to wilt.
Gerald Wallace is killing the Kings — gets a backcourt steal and draws a clear path foul. Hits both free throws, then Jack splashes a jumper. Stop on the other end, alley-oop to Gerald to push the lead to 20, 79-59. Another Naz bucket, another alley-oop to Gerald and the Bobcats are running the Kings out of the building, 83-59. 28 points on 11-13 FG at this point for Gerald, still stuck on 8 rebounds, though.
Wow, Cats win the third quarter 34-13 and will take a 90-67 lead into the fourth. About as good of a quarter as you’ll see.
Would love to see Gerald and the rest of the starters get some rest tonight, but remember, these are the same Kings that made a huge 4th quarter run and pushed the Cats to the limit back on MLK Day. Then again, that was mostly Tyreke Evans’ doing, and Paul Westphal seems to have buried Evans on the bench in the second half tonight.
Right on cue, Gerald comes out: 35 points on 12-15 FG/2-3 3PT/9-11 FT and 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals. Can’t say enough. That’s two straight games with 30/10 for the All-Star, on a West Coast back-to-back to boot.
Cats go a little cold without Gerald, but still maintaining a healthy cushion as the Kings aren’t exactly lighting Arco Arena on fire either. Now Gerald is back in. Come on, Larry — not only are you needlessly risking an injury, but I’m going to have to retype his line!
Oh no — Kings on a 15-3 run and cut it to 95-82. Cats have missed 11 FG in a row. Now 12 in a row and Kevin Martin with a three to cut it to 10, 95-85. Very aggravating. Gerald and Jack should be icing their knees by now. What is it with these Kings and their fourth quarter runs?
Flip finally stops the bleeding with a bucket for the Cats, but then fouls Casspi on the way to the basket on the other end. Casspi with a three-point-play to cut it to 97-90, 2 minutes left.
Now it’s down to 4, 100-96 with 35 seconds left. Felton with a layup, and then Jason Thompson misses two free throws, Bobcats end up with the ball after a scramble. Exhale, Cats lead 102-96 with the ball, 17 seconds left. Felton inexplicably misses two free throws, but it’s too late for the Kings anyways. Kevin Martin misses a desperation three, Gerald gets the ball, draws a foul and hits one of his two free throws to end it. 103-96 Bobcats final, box score here.
Whew, that was a needlessly heart-stopping fourth quarter. The story should be about Raymond Felton shutting down Tyreke Evans and Gerald Wallace adding to the legend of Gerald Wallace. But the lead has to be the fact that this one was almost a clone of the MLK Day game.
The difference was that tonight’s big fourth quarter run was led by Sergio Rodriguez, Kevin Martin and Jason Thompson, not Tyreke Evans. (Late in the game, word came down that Evans was sitting because of a bruised hip, not Raymond Felton-itis.)
In his post-game interview, Gerald commented that he thought the Cats went into “prevent mode” trying to run out the clock too early. I’m not sure I agree; with a 22-point lead with 9 minutes left and the opponents’ star player on the bench, you should be able to give the starters some rest and salt the game away. Maybe Gerald is right, though. These Kings are young, good, and foolish enough to not know that they’re supposed to lay down when down 22 with 9 minutes left.
Gerald’s final line: 38 points (season high) on 12-18 FG/2-4 3PT/12-15 FT, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks.
The Cats improve to 24-22 overall and 3-1 on the road trip, which guarantees them at worst a 3-3 trip with 2 games left. Things get hard, though, as we’re at the Blazers Monday night (10 PM ET start) and the Lakers (10:30 PM ET start) Wednesday night. Brandon Roy will reportedly be out Monday night, but Andre Miller will be coming off a career high 52.