Charlotte Bobcats @ Houston 4/9/10
The Bobcats had a lot more to gain than the Houston Rockets in this one. With Miami dropping a surprising loss against the Pistons on the same evening, Charlotte could have inched within a game of the East’s sixth seed with a win in Texas but the Rockets had other plans. Behind a tremendous fourth quarter scoring burst from PG Aaron Brooks, Houston sent the Bobcats packing 97-90. Bobcats drop to 42-37, still two games back of Miami.
They Just Aren’t The Same Without Him
Stephen Jackson has his well-documented faults (not to mention a very suspect, very expensive contract) but this was another game that shows us just how valuable JAX is to the Charlotte Bobcats success. For all of Gerald Wallace’s efforts this season (All-Star selection, rebounding boost), Stephen Jackson is clearly Charlotte’s MVP.
Coach Larry Brown made good on his promise to rest Jackson as the team closes in on the postseason. Brown stated that he wasn’t worried about Playoff seeding now that they’ve clinched, he’s more worried about being effective once they start playing. I can’t argue with that logic. Seeing the team play without Stephen Jackson tonight was a nice reminder.
Bobcats also rested Tyrus Thomas (thumb) and didn’t dress Theo Ratliff, who is still away on a personal matter. Charlotte will need them all healthy and ready for the Playoffs.
A Few Positives From a Tough Loss
- Tyson Chandler. As terrible as Tyson was for four fifths of the season, he’s picking an awfully good time to return to form. Chandler with another big defensive game: 12 rebounds and 5 blocks to go along with 7 points. Two of those points were collected on, you are not going to believe this, a NON-DUNK! I saw it with my own eyes, folks. First points of the game. Tyson backs in Luis Scola, turns and rattles in a fadeaway 5-footer. In related news, an image of Jesus was seen in a Smuckers jar last night in Bessemer City, NC.
- D.J. looks confident. His numbers weren’t as good as they were against New Orleans but I like the body language. He had a nice open court stop & pop in the first half that wouldn’t have taken much less made earlier in the year.
- Larry Hughes looks better. Hughes stepped in and did a decent job as Jackson’s replacement going 5-13 for 16 points. My take on The Great Hughes-Graham Debate of 2010 goes like this: Coach Brown knows what Graham is going to give him. He’s a given. Brown is intrigued enough with Hughes and his abilities as a proven dynamic NBA scoring guard that he’s willing to gamble with him now in order to have another major scoring asset come Playoff time. That’s a good gamble to make because the ‘Cats will need all the scoring they can get.
Some Rockets Observations
- Shane Battier wore a green Masters jacket on the bench. I swear I’m not making this up. Something gives me the feeling that Battier and Ron Artest never hung out in the offseason.
- I wonder how strange it is for Rick Adlemen to watch Gerald Wallace today, almost ten years after he let the raw draft prospect languish at the end of Sacramento’s bench? Did Adlemen ever guess that this guy might one day be an All-Star, a legitimate post threat and one of the League’s top rebounders?
- Chase Buddinger = Adam Morrison gone right. In fact, Buddinger shouldn’t even be compared to white wing players at all. He’s got incredible athleticism that allows him to go to the basket when his outside shot isn’t falling. After Chase elevated and threw one down on Tyson Chandler, Chandler seemed more confused than upset. It was like he just witnessed a Pug best a Cheetah in a footrace.
- The Rockets must lead the league in “Undersized Players.” It seems everybody on the team is giving up a few inches or a few pounds at their respective positions: Kurt Lowry, Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, Kevin Martin, etc.
- Speaking of Chuck Hayes, he’s officially listed as the team’s starting center and he’s a maximum 6’5″ although he’s listed an inch taller but he’s built like a cement truck. Always a fan of undersized big men. Charles Barkley, LJ, and now Craig Smith and Hayes. Gotta love ‘em.
Only three games left and then we got Playoffs baby!