Bobcats march into Chi-town and outlast the Bulls 83-82 in a game that came down to clutch baskets and poor officiating. Charlotte improves to 16-24, Chicago drops to 28-14.
- The Return of Gerald Wallace! Crash has looked rather ordinary since coming back from his on again/off again ankle injury but finally returned to the Wallace of old in the fourth quarter which featured a nice 7 point personal run highlighted by a textbook Crash putback slam. A thing of beauty. I haven’t seen Wallace elevate like that all season. Good to know that he still has it in him. Only 13 points but 16 big rebounds for the captain.
- Stephen Jackson made some love to pressure with a beautiful top of the key fadeaway jumper that put the Bobcats up 81-80. JAX followed that one by nailing two critical free throws to close out the game. Another one of those weird Jackson games where he killed in the first quarter and then disappeared for the 2nd and 3rd only to come back and close out strong. Sensing a pattern here. Both Gerald and JAX shot an ugly 5-14 a piece but made shots when it counted.
- Derrick Rose ain’t bad. Sure, his 28 shot attempts were more than the rest of the Bulls starting 5 combined but he hit half of ‘em. Rose is such an athletic force at the point guard position and combined with the League’s rule change to prevent the hand check, has forged him into a near unstoppable offensive force. Really like what I’m seeing from Rose in just his third year. Easily a top 5 PG and definite MVP candidate. Rose’s ability to get into the lane and not only get off good shots but rebound his own misses and see over the trees for the open man is unparalleled. Can’t think of any other current point with his type of advantages.
- Considering the size differential, Rose should be eating D.J. Augustin alive during their head to head matchups but that hasn’t been the case over their first three years in the League. Augustin does a good job of staying in front of Rose and the Bobcats do a nice job of switching a bigger defender on him when Rose does get by. Augustin has also historically made Rose work on the other end and did a decent job of it again tonight by dropping 15 points and hitting half his shots. Coach Silas tried to mix it up a bit with Shaun Livingston in the 2nd and 3rd but while he has the length, I just don’t think Shaun has the lateral quickness to stay with Rose thus far coming back from the knee injury. Will he ever?
- Solid efforts from Diaw, Mohammed and the Bobcats bench in a near ugly game that had each team shoot (barely) 40% from the field. Kwame Brown continues to boggle the mind. Three VERY PRETTY buckets in the first quarter and he looked like he was going to repeat the double double he dropped on Chicago back in CLT but was constantly out of position on the defensive end so Silas yanked him early and he never really got going again.
- Finally, the officiating. In the first half you had two TURBO OBVIOUS travels by D.J. Augustin (on a fast break 3 & 1/2 step scoop to the hoop) and Boris Diaw. Then in the waning seconds of the game, the tide swung the other way as the refs handed the Bulls not one but two additional opportunities after turning the ball over with just 8.7 seconds left on the clock. Embarrassingly inconsistent and I hope the tapes are being reviewed as I type.
The Cats may or may not make the Playoffs. They may blow up the team. One thing is for certain: The Paul Silas Bobcats are a hell of a lot more fun to watch than they were under his predecessor. Keep it comin’ Sugar Bear.