Charlotte Bobcats @ Magic Game 2, 4/21/10
The Orlando Magic scored another definitive victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, 92-77, in Game 2 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday night. Stephen Jackson led the Bobcats with 27 and keyed a fourth quarter rally that briefly made things interesting late, but the Magic ultimately led wire to wire, putting all five starters in double figures.
This one had an even uglier start than Game 1. 8 minutes into the first quarter, the two teams had only combined for 16 points; problem was, the Cats only had three of those. Fortunately, the Cats got a few buckets to make the count a not-quite-as-embarrassing 18-14 after the first quarter.
But frankly, the damage had been done. Orlando’s zone-ish defense rendered the Cats offense (not exactly potent to begin with) into a bogged-down, turnover-filled mess. The Cats finished the game with 21 turnovers, and no one outside of Stephen Jackson ever figured out how to score.
The fact that the Bobcats play some pretty good defense themselves kept the game reasonable; the Cats were only down 11 at the half, and cut the lead to 8 with 3:15 left in the game before succumbing.
The Magic simply had too many weapons tonight. Though Dwight Howard was held to a modest line (15 points on 5-10 FG/5-12 FT, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks) he was absolutely dominant for a stretch early in the third quarter that set the tone for the rest of the second half.
Vince Carter, infamous for shrinking into a jump-shooter when the going gets tough, had smooth sailing into the paint all night long, resulting in 9-11 free throws. (As a team, the Magic shot 35 free throws.)
Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson were solid and reliable, if unspectacular, while Mickael Pietrus and Ryan Anderson provided an onslaught of threes off the bench, combining for 5-7 from distance.
There were almost no silver linings for the Bobcats in this one. The late run that cut the deficit to 8 was intriguing for a minute, but rationally you knew it was too little, too late. Nazr did show some signs of life (5-6 FG for 10 points in 16 minutes).
But basically, I’m grasping at straws here. The only one that may be worth a damn is simply that the Cats have played much better at home this year and Games 3 and 4 are in Charlotte. The Cats had the biggest home/road record differential amongst all the playoff teams this year, for no reason that anyone could logically explain. At this point, I’d give up trying to explain it if I could just see it for Games 3 and 4.
- Apologies for recycling my Twitter posts, but is anyone else getting the same feeling they used to get watching Jeff McInnis a couple of years ago when watching Larry Hughes these days?
- Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw have been frustratingly ineffective, as have Hughes and Tyrus Thomas off the bench.
- The Cats have a couple of days to stew on this one. Game 3 is on Saturday afternoon at 2PM ET at the Cable Box.