*** OBSERVATIONS FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA (LEAGUE PASS BROADCAST) ***
Bobcats win their third straight over the Portland Trailblazers Saturday night 102-97 in OT to notch their 3rd straight victory and improve to 16-24. Can you smell .500!!!??? AP recap here. Box score here.
1. Gerald Wallace. Words can’t describe what GForce did to Greg Oden on a monstrous alley-oop. See for yourselves:
Wallace’s 31pts (on 10-19) with 16 boards (!) and two BIG time blocks set the tone for the rest of the team and had the Bobcats playing to win from the very beginning. This was one of those nights when you remember how good Gerald is and how much the team relies upon him for creating offense in the lane. The dude is so fast when he’s on the break and just goes to basket and is willing to take the hit. Statistically, GFORCE may not be having his best season (yet) but as an all around ball player, he’s really been evolving to another level. Maybe that benching against the Wiz last week was exactly the prescription he needed.
2. Okafor. Huge game from ‘Mek tonight. 22pts, 11rbs and thoroughly dominated Greg Oden. Oak’s block on Brandon Roy late in the game prevented the Blazers from getting anything going. Emeka has been playing great all year but don’t take our word for it. From Raja Bell post-game:
“Emeka is a really good player. Sometimes a different look can help a guy like him when guys don’t necessarily want to leave us (defensively) on the perimeter and he’s going to be able to work one-on-one with guys in the post. That’s all you can ask for as an offensive player is to get a one-on-one opportunity, and I’m happy to be able to do that for Mek. He’s great when my man comes to help – he finds me on the perimeter and then it’s up to me to make shots. It’s been a pleasure playing with him.”
3. Trust us Raja, the pleasure is all ours. Bell completely shut down Brandon Roy in the first half (2pts) and pestered him late on a couple of drives that prevented Roy from every getting anything going. And while Boris Diaw struggled seriously with his shot (2-9) he tied with Felton for the team lead in assists with 7 and hit a absolutely huge 3pt basket late in the 4th to end the Blazers push. Speaking of Raymond, another nice game for Sir Trade Bait as he showed some major cajones down the stretch, hitting an off-balance 12 foot bank from the top of the key to put the ‘Cats up and then had a nice dribble drive shot opportunity (the one’s I usually hate) in OT that was good enough for Okafor to tap back out for an offensive board.
4. The Bench. Although Adam Morrison looked completely lost (as usual) coming in to rest Wallace, the ‘Cats can breath a sigh of relief at the completely surprising efforts of one Juwan Howard. Who knew that this guy still had something in the tank??? He added 8pts (4-5 shooting) and some serious veteran stability in the 13 minutes he played and is all of a sudden making Brown/Jordan/Higgins look like Joe Dumars or Geoff Petrie. Nice work from Juwan. Unfortunately not all was great from the bench. Nazr Mohammed should be nicknamed “BuzzKill” for his incessant lack of effort/energy. The guy just isn’t a Brown-type player and I very much foresee Felton being moved before the deadline for, if anything, to package with Nazr and get him off of the books. What a waste.
5. Great home win for the Bobcats and with Spurs coming to town on Monday for MLK Day, why not make it Four in a Row with new big man DeSagna Diop showing up just in time to help shut-down Tim Duncan.
Enjoy the win, ‘Cats fans.