Charlotte Bobcats vs Raptors, 3/29/10
The Charlotte Bobcats dropped another winnable game to the Toronto Raptors, 103-101, on Monday night at the Cable Box. The Cats led by six points to start the final period before falling behind. A mad scramble in the closing 90 seconds resulted in one last chance for the Cats, down two, to tie or win. However, Raymond Felton couldn’t connect with a cutting Tyson Chandler and the ball bounced out of bounds to ensure the loss.
Things looked pretty good for the Cats after three quarters. No one was playing extraordinarily; instead it was a pretty well-rounded effort. The Cats had contained Chris Bosh, and kept Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu very much in check.
But some issues lurked. Stephen Jackson was in full-on “I’m more interested in barking at the refs instead of beating the Raptors” mode after being in foul trouble all game. The Cats had not been able to turn the Raps over very much (10 Raptor turnovers, only 7 fast break points for the Bobcats). The Cats were outrebounded 38-31.
Furthermore, the Cats had not taken enough advantage of the Raptors notoriously bad defense (only 24 points in the paint). Being without the high-flying antics of Tyrus Thomas (ankle) and the low-post scoring of Nazr Mohammed (back, still) didn’t help here, but the Raps also usually give up more penetration into the lane than the Cats were able to manage.
These shortcomings allowed the Raps a chance to make a few clutch shots in the decisive fourth quarter and overcome the Cats. Jarrett Jack, Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu all hit big threes. Jarrett Jack then added three free throws after drawing a foul on Raymond outside the arc to push the Raps lead to 100-93 with just under 3 minutes left.
From there, Stephen Jackson’s five straight points and the Raptors’ 3-6 performance from the free throw line conspired to make the finish interesting. With 13 seconds left, the Cats got the ball down two. With Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace camped out along the three-point line for the kickout, Raymond Felton drove into the lane, moving from right to left. As the defense collapsed on Raymond, Tyson Chandler cut to the basket.
If you want to blame it on Tyson, say that he didn’t take a great angle to the basket on his cut (or that he probably wouldn’t have caught the pass if it came right to him — probably true). If you want to blame it on Raymond (more appropriate) say that he flat-out threw an errant pass.
Whatever you choose, they didn’t connect. The ball bounced out of bounds with a couple seconds left, leaving the Raps to simply complete an inbounds play to steal the win.
- I’ll keep my bitching brief, because “he is who he is” and on balance, he’s been a big positive for the Cats. But if Jack could channel half the vitriol he directs at the officials towards his opponent, he’d get that All-Star recognition he supposedly covets so much. The Cats would also probably get an extra couple of wins over 82 games. In the third quarter, after fouling Bargnani, getting under his skin and drawing a tech on the Italian, and hitting the technical free throw, Jack couldn’t stop yapping at the ref about the loose ball foul that started it all, eventually garnering a tech of his own. Pointless…
- Tyson Chandler rolled an ankle in the second quarter and left for the the locker room. After a retape (I presume) he did return.
- Owner Michael Jordan was back in his benchside seat and got into it with the refs in the fourth quarter when the Raps were taking the game over. Didn’t help…
- Shame about that last turnover for Raymond — before it he had played another really nice game with 18 points (7-12 FG, 4-5 3PT), 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
- The loss drops the Cats to 38-35 and 7th place in the East. We’re 1.5 games behind 6th place Miami and 2 games ahead of 8th place Toronto. Tonight’s loss gives Toronto the season series at 2-1, should we finished tied with them. Hollinger’s playoff odds are currently predicting that we’ll finish in 7th place, 1 game behind Miami.
- 9 games left: 5 home, 4 away. Next one is Monday night at home against the 76ers — follow me on Twitter for in-game tweets.