Charlotte Bobcats vs. Pacers, 11/22/09
Home Sweet Home
The Bobcats (4-9) end a 7-game losing streak with a win over the Pacers, 104-88, on Sunday evening at the Cable Box. AP recap here, box score here, Bonnell story here. The Cats opened up a slight lead towards the end of the first quarter and never trailed again versus a Pacers squad that just couldn’t get any flow going.
The cynic’s take on this game would be that the Pacers were on the road, don’t play much defense to begin with, were trying to work Troy Murphy and Jeff Foster back into the rotation, and generally had an off night. The optimist’s take would be that this is exactly how the Bobcats have to play in order to seriously challenge for a spot in the playoffs — and we’re going to see more of it now that Stephen Jackson is settling in.
The truth, as per usual, is somewhere in between. The Pacers shoot a lot of threes, and didn’t make many tonight (Granger, Rush and Murphy were a combined 4-17). But the rest of the Pacers poor play was due, in large part, to the Bobcats strong defense. Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Derrick Brown and Steven Graham did a great job of hounding Danny Granger all night. In fact, Dahntay Jones ended up taking the most shots for the Pacers, which is about the equivalent of Raymond Felton leading the Bobcats in field goal attempts.
The Bobcats were led on offense not by Stephen Jackson, playing his first game in Charlotte, but by old man Nazr Mohammed. Mohammed beasted it for 18 points on 8-10 FG and 2-4 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks — in 18 minutes. If there were some sort of NBA equivalent to the NFL’s QB efficiency rating stat, Nazr’s would be astronomical for the night.
5 other guys also hit double figures for the Bobcats in a well-rounded team effort: Gerald Wallace (11 pts/11 rebs), Boris Diaw (17 pts on 8-13 FG), Stephen Jackson (11 pts/7 rebs) and Derrick Brown (13 pts on 5-7 FG). Wait, who?
Rookie Derrick Brown logged 24 minutes, the most of his young career, and responded magnificently. He also added 4 rebs and 2 steals, one of which was an one-on-one rip of Granger in the backcourt that Brown took in for a breakaway dunk (it is included in the highlights above). I’m not sure what Brown is doing to endear himself to Larry Brown so much, but we can only hope that Gerald Henderson is taking notes.
- Steven Graham had some nice minutes in the second half, playing tough D on Granger and posting a perfect night shooting: 3-3 FG and 2-2 FT for 8 points.
- Tyson Chandler did not play due to back spasms. As mentioned above, Nazr played 18 minutes, so the rest of the game the Cats went small with Boris effectively playing center.
- Tyler Hansbrough seemed to be a big draw, as attendance was better than I thought it would be, and he got a big ovation when he checked in for the first time. He looks like an able replacement for Jeff Foster.
- Roy Williams was in the “Bob Johnson” midcourt-courtside seats. He, Jordan and Sam Perkins held a Tarheel reminiscing session over by the Bobcats bench during halftime. Many more people watched this than Rufus’s corny halftime magic show.
- In 13 games, the Bobcats have had 8 different leading scorers — I doubt there’s another team in the league even close to that.
- Next game is a Thanksgiving Eve tilt with the visiting Raptors at 7 PM ET at the Cable Box. Should be interesting, as the Raps and Cats are like bizarro versions of each other (the Raps are first in the league in offensive efficiency and last in the league in defensive efficiency).